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The Philadelphia Women’s Rugby Football Club (PWRFC) is the only Division I women’s team that practices and plays within the city’s limits. This team is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Conference Eastern Pennsylvania GU Women's Division 1. It was founded in 1976, making it one of the oldest women’s clubs in the country. It competes competitively in both 15’s and 7’s events.
National highlights include being one of three east coast clubs to attend the first national women’s competition in 1978, three appearances at the Elite 8 Division I Rugby Tournament, and attending Club 7s National Championships every year since the event’s existence. Additionally, the team has had members go on to become part of the USA Women’s National Team pool and the USA U23 Women’s National team players.
The club’s combined XV and VII involvement makes the season last from March to November. This past XV’s play resulted in a 3-3 overall tally. The Philly Women attribute their recent struggles to having lost many experienced, older players and not bringing on enough new recruits. In particular, the team played with 20 plus players, while, in past seasons they numbered over 40.
Captain Whitney Hileman commented, “I was a little disappointed by our outcome, but I think our growth as a team has been worth it. We won half our games this season but I think our increase commitment and mesh as a team from the first game to the last game was so noticeable and an amazing thing to experience.”
vs. Keystone (W 19-7)
vs. James River (W 54-0)
@ Pittsburgh (L 14-50)
@ NOVA (L 0-56)
vs. Pittsburgh (L 5-10)
@ James River (W 48-0)
Going forward with future recruitment plans, the team hopes to keep in touch with local colleges to recruit young players who are likely to stay in the area. Additionally, if PWRFC receives information that ruggers are coming to the area from “a big name school,” it tries to reach out to these players.
The Philly Women welcome new players at any time and do not require prior experience. Newcomers should note that PWRFC is independent of a men’s club. The club has monthly board meetings open to all members, as well as an annual general meeting. This end of season gathering allows the team to vote on policies, hand out awards and put on theatrical skits. Fundraising for the team takes place through a variety of mediums, including alumnae donations, raffles and partnerships with local establishments like O’Neal’s Pub in Philadelphia’s Old City.
With this year’s season over, the Philly Women plan to schedule some group workouts and social gatherings until next March. To learn more about the PWRFC contact Hileman via [email protected] or visit the team’s website at www.pwrfc.org.