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NEW YORK – The Varsity Cup announced Thursday that Arizona State University will join its national collegiate rugby championship postseason in the spring of 2015.
“On behalf of the Varsity Cup universities and our commercial partner, United World Sports, I offer a sincere welcome to Arizona State,” said Varsity Cup founder and Brigham Young head coach David Smyth. “The Sun Devils are a rugby program on the rise, with strong support from their administration and local community. They will be another natural fit for the Varsity Cup.”
The addition of the Sun Devils brings to 14 the number of teams in the Varsity Cup, a single-elimination postseason tournament that began in 2013 with eight programs. Four more joined to create a 12-team field in the 2014 edition, and the decision by ASU follows the same move by Arkansas State earlier this summer to join BYU, Cal, Utah, UCLA, Navy, Dartmouth, Notre Dame, Texas, Air Force, Central Washington, Clemson and Oklahoma in next spring’s premier postseason for collegiate 15s. Together, the Varsity Cup field represents 31 of the 33 national collegiate champions crowned by USA Rugby and 69 of its final-four teams from the 1980 through 2012 postseasons.
The Sun Devils’ 133 team national championships all-time make ASU one of the most accomplished sporting universities in the United States. Rugby’s reentry as a medal sport at 2016 Summer Olympic Games adds further weight to the move by Arizona State, which has produced 160 Olympians since 1952.
Said Ray Anderson, Director of Athletics at ASU, “We are excited about the opportunity for our rugby team and pleased about Arizona State’s inclusion in the Varsity Cup, where the program will compete among the sport’s elite.”
Rugby was inaugurated at ASU in 1975 and has regularly ranked in the Top 25 in the country under head coach Gary Lane. “We are building for our future and see our inclusion as a necessary aspect of our development,” Lane said. “In recent years, we declined invitations to participate in the USA Rugby postseason and it was always our hope to receive a Varsity Cup place.”
Sun Devils fullback Adam Sandstrom, having just completed a national team trial at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., said, “I am confident that our team will rise to the occasion this season and in the years to come, proving that we are able to compete with the best teams in the country.”
About The Varsity Cup Rugby National Championship
The Varsity Cup is America’s top collegiate rugby postseason national championship. The mission of the Varsity Cup is to grow American rugby by harnessing the collective strength of collegiate rugby and collegiate sport in general. The Varsity Cup features the most recognized and accomplished university rugby programs in the country vying for the right to be named the collegiate 15s Varsity Cup National Champions.
About United World Sports
United World Sports (UWS) LLC hosts a dynamic line up of emerging sports properties and has quickly become the leader at delivering premier international sports properties to U.S. audiences. UWS’ flagship property is the USA Sevens Rugby Tournament held annually in Las Vegas. This exciting 16-nation, three-day tournament has become the largest attended rugby event in North America with more than 70,000 fans coming to Sam Boyd Stadium. Broadcast live on NBC Sports the tournament serves as the only U.S. stop on a nine-city world tour and reaches more than 350 million television households worldwide. Additional UWS properties include the Las Vegas Invitational, America’s Rugby Seven’s Cup, the College Rugby Championship (CRC), the Varsity Cup and the Pro Soccer Challenge.