BOULDER, Colo. – The inaugural USA Rugby Elite Cup competition kicks off this weekend in Denver, as the Glendale Raptors visit rivals Denver Barbarians on March 16. The last time the two met in October, Glendale lost a close match 29-26.
Eight teams will take part in the first year of the new competition. Denver, Glendale, Seattle Old Puget Sound Beach, and San Francisco Golden Gate in the West and Boston, Life, New York Athletic Club, and Old Blue in the East will compete for the chance to win a trophy aside from their club competition schedules.
Apart from Glendale, who will continue to compete in USA Rugby Division I, each Elite Cup team participated in the Rugby Super League in the past. They will now join Glendale in Division I.
The top two teams in each division will advance to the playoffs after a three-match season, culminating with the Final on May 25. Playoff and Final locations are still to be determined.
“I think the Elite Cup offers players the opportunity to play against other quality players across the country and measure themselves against each other,” Glendale Head Coach Andre Snyman said. “There might be a player in the USA team playing against your average club player, and that gives the DI player a chance to compare himself.”
New York Athletic Club, last season’s Rugby Super League champions, will visit in-state rivals Old Blue in the second match of the Elite Cup on March 23.
The Elite Cup teams boast some of the highest-quality players in the United States, and each team will be fully prepared to give it their all to earn the title of Elite Cup champions. The Elite Cup schedule ends prior to international competition, allowing teams to keep their internationals for the duration of the cup competition.
“I can speak firsthand for my team that they want to play teams that are at full strength and have opposition at full strength so they can challenge themselves and see where they stand,” NYAC’s Bruce McLane said.
For the full Elite Cup schedule, please visit the Elite Cup page on the USA Rugby website.