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USA Rugby Announced 2020 RCTs. Why Now?

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USA Rugby Announced 2020 RCTs. Why Now?

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With timing that is flat-out weird, USA Rugby has announced the Regional Cup Tournaments for 2020.

Why this is strange timing is because USA Rugby has rarely been this prompt in announcing details on competitions (the RCTs are in five months), and the announcement is happening right in the middle of a massive argument about how USA Rugby should be organized and governed, especially as relates to youth and high school governance.

Some of the anger leveled at USA Rugby surrounds the RCTs, including how the venues are picked, and the rules surrounding fees and budgeting and the rules governing what players can play at what level.

However, at the same time, USA Rugby's VP of Rugby Operations has chosen some solid venues, including returning to Middle Tennessee State University and the rugby complex in Cottage Grove, WIsc. Having Yakima as a venue for the Great Northwest Challenge is a bit of a head-scratcher, but could work out in terms of its central location for Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Utah.

Each RCT has two Divisions for both boys and girl—what is commonly called Varsity and is for juniors and seniors, and what is commonly called JV, for sophomores and freshmen. However, many argue that this doesn't work for some depth-stretched teams, and there should be better provisions for older players to play down a level if they are good leaders but not the very top in their position, or for talented youngsters to play up.

USA Rugby is saying collegiate scouts and admissions staff are at these tournaments, as well as USA Rugby All American selectors, but the senior level is a bit late for some of these scouts, and college scouts can be seen in greater numbers at high school nationals.

But, in the USA Rugby's statements: "The Regional Cup Tournaments are USA Rugby's official pathway events in to the  High School All-Americans and U20 programs, and a great opportunity to see how today’s high school athletes match up against the best of the best."

This may well be true, but there's only one tournament to be held west of the Rockies (and one right in the Rockies) and only one tournament on the Atlantic Coast; is it realistic to expect all of the "best of the best" to be at the locations listed? 

Weaver added this: ”The Regional Cup Tournaments are the best opportunity to meet athletes from around the country and showcase your rugby skills. We have built these events to make sure introductions can happen with college coaches, USA Rugby selectors and others in rugby. With interest from MLR teams, colleges and our national team coaches, we are excited to meet and watch the next generation of potential Eagles out on these fields.”

There remains, however, very much a question as to who runs these tournaments or sanctions them going forward. USA Rugby as an entity will be changing drastically, and it's likely that these tournaments, which succeeded before USA Rugby sprinkled its fairy dust on them, will be managed differently in the coming years.

Regional Cup Tournaments 2020 Schedule:

June 6-7      South RCT, Murfreesboro, TN

June 20-21  Rocky Mountain Challenge, Centennial, CO

June 27-28  Great Northwest Challenge, Yakima, WA

June 27-28  Northeast RCT, Springfield, MA

June 27-28   Midwest RCT, Madison, WI