Are Challenge Matches A Better Format For College Postseason?

By John Broker

I am going to throw out an opinion about the college rugby postseason that I am not sure I agree with, and we can discuss from there, as rugby people are wont to do.

The Liberty Conference Challenge takes place at Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT, this Saturday, with a great slate of games for teams across the Northeast. It is a one-day event and includes Delaware, Tufts, UMASS, Stony Brook, Albany, Fairfield, Syracuse, URI, Binghamton, UCONN, AIC, Fordham, Northeastern, and Cortland.

Watch the 2017 Liberty Conference Challenge LIVE on FloRugby

In other parts of the country, teams will be traveling greater distances to play two games in two days to move on in national championship rounds. 

The question is the role of national championships in the evolving college rugby landscape. Could the resources be better used elsewhere if the burden on the players, teams, and schools were lessened for travel to nationals? Could concepts similar to the Challenge games provide equal competition at a better price and possibly still lead to a national champion? 

Pride And Resources

Nationals is a pride thing, and I have been involved in runs for nationals at a number of levels and in a number of roles, so I get it. But boy does it take some cash. A typical men’s college team in the Northeast usually has 3-4 away games each fall season, averaging 3-5 hours of travel, followed by a two-day weekend playoff and a play-in game that can be anywhere up to eight hours travel. The teams then travels to Pennsylvania for a two-game weekend and, depending on outcome, heads to South Carolina for a two-game championship weekend. While it’s fun, it’s not easy and school support varies wildly throughout the country. 

There are of course a lot of variables in the conference setup nationwide, and I don’t envy the folks who have to make sense of it. But could a simpler setup leave for resources for player, coach, and program development? Would a reduced travel burden on teams and the fostering of conference rivalries benefit programs? Could the Liberty Conference Challenge serve as a starting point?

"Could a simpler setup leave for resources for player, coach and program development?"

Like I said at the start, I am not sure if I agree, but it is food for thought and definitely fodder for conversation. I loved all my involvement with nationals (and would love more), but change can sometimes be good.

We would love to hear what you all think, so go to the FloRugby Facebook and Twitter pages to join the conversation. 

Oh, and tune into on Saturday for the Liberty Challenge matches.

- John Broker is a longtime rugby coach and announcer who has covered some of the highest profile games in the USA. He most recently was the play-by-play announcer for the Saracens v USA Islanders game, and will be on-air this weekend for the Liberty Challenge matches.

Captains Gather In Glendale For Huge World Series Opener

Women Eagles Hard At Work For Big Games Ahead

Twelve captains gathered at Infinity Park ahead of the new HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series opening round which takes place this weekend (20-21 October) in the heart of Glendale, Colorado’s rugby epicenter and premier setting for rugby in the USA.

Men's College Player Of The Week: Watson Filikitonga, Iona

Watson Filikitonga tried as hard as he could not to play rugby, but it got him anyway.

Playoff Ramifications In D1 Men's College

Michigan State Prepares For Battle Of The Mitten

We're getting close to crowning some D1A conference champions, and closer to finding playoff teams in D1AA.

Tough-Minded USC Ready To Shake Up WC 7s

USC captain and four-year starter Michael Cesar leads an experienced group into the West Coast 7s this weekend, where the Trojans are hoping to shake things up.

Campbell's Availability Good News For Eagles

Bryce Campbell Likes Steak

Very good news for the USA this week is that some overseas pros who might have been unavailable for The Rugby Weekend can actually play.

Eagle Men Name Fall Tour Squad

USA Rugby's Cam Dolan: Accomplish Something Bigger Than Yourself

LAFAYETTE, CO. - The USA Men's National 15s Team has been named for the upcoming November Internationals 2018. 

7s Women Want A Trophy, But They Like Rings, Too

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloRugby!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

Dinnertime For Eagles

Every Women's Sevens World Series event has its ramifications, but this season carries extra importance.

5 Teams With 5 Different West Coast 7s Goals

The West Coast 7s kicks off this weekend at Treasure Island, and this is a tournament that has plenty of meaning for everyone.

FloSports Announces Multiyear Streaming Partnership with Guinness PRO14

AUSTIN, Texas — October 17, 2018 — Today, FloSports, the innovator in live digital sports and original content, announced a multiyear deal with Guinness PRO14, the professional Rugby Union tournament for club teams from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy and South Africa. As part of the agreement, fans can access live and on-demand coverage of the Guinness PRO14 matches in France, Spain, Portugal, and Latin American countries exclusively on The deal was agreed to in collaboration with RDA.

Argentina Boys, New Zealand Girls Win Youth Olympic Rugby Gold

The Youth Olympic Games rugby sevens competition came to a scintillating conclusion as New Zealand and Argentina won the women’s and men’s gold medals respectively in front of a loud and enthusiastic full house at Club Atlético San Isidro La Boya in Buenos Aires.