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Rugby East Adds Five Chesapeake Teams, Expands to 11

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Rugby East Adds Five Chesapeake Teams, Expands to 11

The 11 teams of the new-look Rugby East.

The Rugby East Conference has announced that it will add five teams for its Fall 2022 competition.

The move provides yet another wrinkle in the alignment of college teams, especially with Rugby East being a conference that, this year at least, straddled the divide between NCR and CRAA. This past year Rugby East existed as both a D1A conference under CRAA, with its champion, West Point, and runner-up, Navy, set to begin playoff runs this month; it also existed as an NCR conference, with 3rd-, 4th-, and 5th-plqce St. Bonaventure, Penn State, and Kutztown entering NCR's D1 playoffs (which St. Bonaventure won).

Meanwhile, the Chesapeake Conference, at one time formed for like-minded DI, DII, and Small-College teams that are near each other, had morphed into a conference in which several were varsity or as-good-as varsity. Queens University, champions in the fall, along with Mary Washington and Mount St. Mary's, were tracked in NCR's DI playoffs, instead of the DIAA competition they had been in previously. This was a mid-season decision from NCR designed to track similar programs into the correct playoffs.

Varsity program Southern Virginia finished 4th and didn't participate in any playoff, while 5th-place Virginia Tech entered NCR's DIAA playoffs and won.

By that point, several of the programs that had started the Chesapeake, such as Salisbury, Towson, and James Madison, had moved to the MARC. Other originals, Georgetown and Virginia, had moved to MARC's DII and the Cardinals DII Conference, respectively.

Now those Chesapeake teams are joining Rugby East. Mount St. Mary’s University Men, Queens University of Charlotte Men, Southern Virginia University, University of Mary Washington, and Virginia Tech will all join the Rugby East, bringing the number of Rugby East members to 11:

Army West Point
Mary Washington (New)
Mount St. Mary's (New)
Notre Dame College
Penn State
Queens University (New)
Southern Virginia (New)
St. Bonaventure University
Virginia Tech (New)

Not joining Rugby East are Maryland and NC State.

"It’s exciting to add more high-caliber competition to an already strong conference," said Penn State Head Coach Justin Hundley. "The additional matches will provide opportunities for our team to grow through tough tests week-in and week-out." 

This expansion, added Hundley, "will also help to grow the game in our area. It’s more exposure in additional areas on the East Coast. We are excited for the challenge and the expansion."

Adding the five Chesapeake teams "challenges every team to be at the top of their game," said Kutztown Head Coach Gregg Jones. "Not only on game day but with every aspect of their program, from preparation, recruiting, and resilience to coaching and management. This level of commitment can only enhance our program."

"We will be playing in the toughest conference in the country against extremely well-respected programs who are known for their exceptional play," added Mount St. Mary's Director of Rugby, Jay Myles. "Every weekend will be a difficult test. We are really looking forward to challenging ourselves to elevate our program to another level."

As well as adding the five Chesapeake Conference teams, Rugby East will also bring over the conference's commissioner. For some years Rugby East has been run by, essentially, whichever coach wasn't at the meeting to choose a commissioner. (This is an exaggeration, but not much of one). Having a dedicated commissioner is probably overdue for the Rugby East and with 11 teams in action it's critical. Scott Zavrel, who has run the Chesapeake successfully for years, will now assume the Commissioner role for Rugby East.

Notably, with Zavrel's arrival Rugby East has re-invigorated its logo and branding, settled a schedule for the fall of 2022, and produced a press release on this expansion, all things that were difficult in the past.

The Rugby East schedule has now tripled from 15 games in the fall of 2021 to 45 for the fall of 2022.


Fall 2022 Rugby East Schedule
9/10 Kutztown at Army
9/10 Notre Dame College at St. Bonaventure
9/10 Penn State at Queens
9/10 Southern Virginia at Navy
9/10 Virginia Tech at Mount St. Mary's
9/17 Kutztown at Penn State
9/17 Mount St. Mary's at Navy
9/17 Queens at Army
9/17 Southern Virginia at Mary Washington
9/24 Army at Notre Dame College
9/24 Mary Washington at Navy
9/24 Mount St. Mary's at Penn State
9/24 Southern Virginia at Kutztown
9/24 Virginia Tech at St. Bonaventure
10/1 Kutztown at Queens
10/1 Mary Washington at Mount St. Mary's
10/1 Notre Dame College at Virginia Tech
10/1 St. Bonaventure at Army
10/8 Mount St. Mary's at Southern Virginia
10/8 Penn State at Navy
10/15 Army at Penn State
10/15 Mary Washington at Virginia Tech
10/15 Navy at Notre Dame College
10/15 Queens at Southern Virginia
10/15 St. Bonaventure at Kutztown
10/22 Army at Mount St. Mary's
10/22 Navy at Virginia Tech
10/22 Notre Dame College at Kutztown
10/22 Penn State at St. Bonaventure
10/22 Queens at Mary Washington
10/29 Army at Navy
10/29 Penn State at Southern Virginia
10/29 Queens at Notre Dame College
10/29 St. Bonaventure at Mary Washington
10/29 Virginia Tech at Kutztown
11/5 Mary Washington at Penn State
11/5 Navy at Kutztown
11/5 Notre Dame College at Mount St. Mary's
11/5 St. Bonaventure at Southern Virginia
11/5 Virginia Tech at Queens
11/12 Kutztown at Mary Washington
11/12 Mount St. Mary's at Queens
11/12 Navy at St. Bonaventure
11/12 Penn State at Notre Dame College
11/12 Southern Virginia at Virginia Tech