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Northeast RCT Rescued

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Northeast RCT Rescued

USA Rugby officially announced the HS Regional Cup Tournaments last week, highlighting only four, instead of five events as has been the case in previous years.

The announcement came as USA Rugby is now re-positioning the RCTs as more of a college showcase, as a place where college rugby teams can see up-and-coming talent.

However, many organizers and coaches shrug at this approach, in part because seniors are expected to be part of the 1st sides in most of these tournaments (and in fact, waivers are needed for sophomores to be in those teams). For seniors in June after they have graduated to be scouted for college seems a bit late in the day.

Some other issues have sprung up within USA Rugby’s efforts to sanction and make official these all-star tournaments. Specifically, USA Rugby mandates an entry fee of $450 per team. This is somewhat in line with most tournament fees, but in the Northeast, this has proven to be a major stumbling block.

The $450-per-team fee is based on assumption regarding hotel rooms for referees, field fees, and fees for medical support. In much of the Northeast, those fees and costs are much higher than in the rest of the country, and the venues that have been found have restrictions on things like charging tickets or finding other sources of income. Because of these issues, RCT hosts in the Northeast have been losing money - a lot of it - and for 2017 no host could be found, especially after USA Rugby’s Youth & HS department denied a request to allow a higher fee.

However, there will be an all-star HS tournament in the Northeast, as organizers have found a way around the problem. Teams from around the region - from Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut - had all agreed that a per-team fee of $800 made more sense and was acceptable. Rugby New Jersey will host a tournament with an official entry fee of $450 per team, but all teams have agreed to make an additional $350 donation to Rugby New Jersey to help with hosting costs. While the additional payment almost doubles the entry fee, teams say it is still a lot cheaper than flying to one of the more remote events. For most teams involved, the New Jersey venue will be within driving distance, and some teams may not even stay in a hotel overnight.

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