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The men’s and women’s club championships have traditionally been held the first weekend of June, but in 2015, the championship matches will be held June 13 at a site to be determined. Like last season, the championship games will stand alone and the quarterfinals and finals will be bundled on one weekend two weeks prior.
According to USA Rugby club manager Erik Geib, the championships were moved back, “To allow for cold-weather teams to have extra weekends while simultaneously playing longer seasons than they traditionally have.”
The upper rungs of men’s club rugby have tried to avoid conflicts with Eagle camps in the past, as they fear losing their best players when it matters most for their playoffs. Because 2015’s a World Cup year, there is no Tier 1 test for the Eagles in June, so no conflict is created by moving the championships back a year.
Correction: Originally, this article incorrectly state the later 15s season will shorten the club 7s season. However, USA Rugby plans to move the club 7s championships back, too.
Either way, it still compresses the window, as some clubs begin 15s league play in August. Competitive Region and Geographical Union officials were made aware of the date change months ago, giving them time to adjust, but some leagues still started as early as usual. The schedule change could also cut out recovery time for those in college rugby, especially DII, that compete in club 7s in the summer.
It’s not entirely clear if 2015 will end up being a stand-alone anomaly or a trial year, so the championship weekend could move right back to the first of June for 2016.
“Long-term, it will probably depend on how the ARP/PRP/etc. relationship forms, as those are the teams most affected by Eagle activity,” said Geib in an email. “There’s an argument to be made that the Eagles’ schedule doesn’t/shouldn’t affect teams in D1/D2/D3 and/or the women if 99.9% of the pool is in Europe or one of the elite leagues.”