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Cal Returns to Rugby Play Facing Diminished Field

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Some things seem bound to change. And change again. Just when rugby fans were getting used to "College Premier Division" as the moniker for elite-level play, USA Rugby, the sport’s sanctioning organization, has re-branded the product "College Division 1A" for the upcoming 2012 season.

 

The top-tier collegiate men’s competition will kickoff in February with just 26 sides returning from last year’s line-up.

The competition's new name, says USA Rugby, is designed to more closely align it with the college sports model and better delineate rugby’s two Division 1 programs.

 

Division 1 men's college sides not in Division 1A will compete in Division 1AA.  Division 1A and Division 1AA sides compete for their respective national championships.  

 

Division 1A consists of four conferences: Rugby East, Mid-South, Western, and Pacific. Cal competes in the Pacific Conference.

 

Collegiate Rugby Division 1A Conferences

 

Pacific

Western

Mid-South

Rugby East

Cal Poly SLO

Air Force

Arkansas State

Army

California

Arizona

Life

Delaware

Central Washington

Arizona State

Notre Dame

Kutztown

St. Mary’s

BYU

Oklahoma

Navy

UC Davis

Colorado

Texas A&M

Ohio State

UCLA

Colorado State

 

Penn State

 

Utah

 

Rutgers

 

Wyoming

 

 

 

The division’s roster has been trimmed down since the 2011 inaugural season. Gone from the Pacific Conference are Claremont Colleges, which went winless in seven matches last year, and 4-3 San Diego State. The Mid-South Conference lost LSU (3-3) and Tennessee (2-4). Dartmouth’s 3-4 record in the fifteen-a-side format convinced it to drop out of the Rugby East Conference. Only the Western Conference was immune to attrition.

 

Division 1A play season kicks off February 25 with two Mid-South clashes as Arkansas State takes on Texas A&M and Oklahoma goes up against Life University.

 

The following weekend -- March 3 -- all the conferences get into the action, though Cal won’t begin tussling for the championship until March 10 when the Bears challenge UCLA.

 

Cal Rugby Division 1A 2012 Schedule

 

Date

Opponent

February 25

BYE

March 3

BYE

March 10

UCLA

March 17

UC Davis

March 27

Central Washington

March 31

BYE

April 7

BYE

April 14

St. Mary’s

April 21

BYE

April 28

Cal Poly SLO

 

Cal hasn’t set its 2012 schedule for friendly, World Cup or Scrum Axe matches yet. The Division 1A championship match will be contested May 19 after two weekends of knock-out play.