Colorado, Ohio, and Texas to host 2018 Club Playoffs

Lafayette, Colo. - USA Rugby today announced playoff locations for the 2018 USA Rugby Club National Playoffs, which includes championships in Men's Division I, II, and III, as well as Women's Division I and II.

"USA Rugby is delighted to partner with a multitude of organizations across all three sites, who we are confident will deliver fantastic championship experiences," noted James Wilber, USA Rugby's National Championships Manager. "There has been a concentrated effort to elevate club playoffs over the past several years, and we think our members and fans are going to be ecstatic to use these venues."

Starting May 19-20, 40 teams from across the United States will compete in the 2018 Club Western and Eastern Championships, also known as the National Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals.

The Eastern Championships will be held at Fortress Obetz and Memorial Park in Obetz, Ohio - a suburb of Columbus. Fortress Obetz is a 6,500-seat stadium that is home to the Ohio Machine of Major League Lacrosse, and was also purpose-built with rugby in mind. Previously, the Ohio Aviators of PRO Rugby North America made the Village of Obetz their home, and both Ohio State and Columbus Rugby have played rugby matches in the Fortress Obetz venue. This year's Eastern Championships event will be hosted by the Midwest Rugby Union, The Columbus Rugby Football Club, and the Ohio Rugby Union, in conjunction with USA Rugby.

"We're thrilled to welcome teams from across the eastern United States to Ohio," stated Al Lucas, President of the Ohio Rugby Union and Commissioner of the Midwest Rugby Premiership. "It has been a goal of the Midwest to host playoffs, and we couldn't have found a better venue or better partners to execute this event."

Across the Mississippi, the Western Championships will be held at Harmon Field Park in Fort Worth, Texas. Hosted by the Fort Worth Rugby Football Club, the Dallas Rugby Football Club, Visit Fort Worth, and the Texas Rugby Union, in conjunction with USA Rugby, the Western Championships will see rugby teams from across the western United States takeover Texas. The venue will feature three competition fields, full-size warm-up pitches, and upgraded weekend seating thanks to Visit Fort Worth and the local organizing committee. Teams will also have an opportunity to stay downtown thanks to a partnership with the Sheraton Fort Worth Downtown Hotel and enjoy the finer offerings of Fort Worth's cultural scene.

 "Harmon Field Park is a really unique venue, located just across the highway from downtown," said Marty Moore, President of the Fort Worth Rugby Football Club. "With three competition fields and a set-up ideal for the spectator experience, we really look forward to showcasing the sport of rugby in a world-class city."

Dallas Rugby previously hosted the 2013 and 2014 National Quarter-Final/Semi-Final round, and Fort Worth has hosted numerous USA Rugby events over the years, including club, college, and high school national playoff events.

Following the Eastern and Western Championships, winners from both halves of the nation will return to Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado. The USA Rugby Club National Championships will be held June 2-3 by the City of Glendale, as RugbyTown USATM hosts the finals for an unprecedented 10th time. Located in an enclave of Denver, the 4,000-seat Infinity Park is home to the Glendale Raptors of Major League Rugby and the Glendale Merlins of the Women's Premier League.

"A lot of the progress the American rugby community has made is because of quality venues like Infinity Park," noted Erik Geib, USA Rugby's Club Department Manager. "The City of Glendale has proven that America is ready to embrace rugby, and its world-class venue really showcases what the American rugby experience is all about."

"When surveyed, eighty-five percent of our clubs stated that playing in a national championship pathway is important to their club, and we're ecstatic to have the right partners to deliver the playoff experience our members are looking for. It remains important to serve the hard-working clubs that drive our game locally by consistently elevating the standards of their championship events," said Geib.

It is expected that the 2018 USA Rugby Club 7 National Championship venue will be announced in April 2018. Following USA Rugby's previously-announced rotation preference, priority to future club XVs playoff events is allocated as follows, though stronger bids are always capable of overcoming designated geographic preference.

2019Atlantic North (NCR3) / South (NCR2)Pacific North (ACR1)
2020South (NCR2) / Atlantic North (NCR3)Red River (ACR4) / Frontier (ACR3)
2021Mid-Atlantic (NCR4)Pacific South (ACR2)

 
"The Midwest and Red River regions were prioritized locations for this year's club playoffs, and we've been happy to find venues in these regions for both events. We continue to place an emphasis on rotating locations to distribute the travel burden felt by teams, and hope to also find other high-quality rugby events for our partner venues as part of a strategic rotation that develops markets and relationships," said Wilber.

Parties interested in hosting a future championship series event may contact USA Rugby National Championship Series Manager James Wilber (jwilber@usarugby.org; 720-508-8011) or USA Rugby National Championship Series Administrator Aaron Kaylor (akaylor@usarugby.org; 720-508-8026). The application for hosting may be accessed here.