Rugby women host regional this weekend
The defending national champions of women’s NSCRO rugby, Wayne State Wildcat women, are two wins away from a return trip to Atlanta for the NSCRO semifinals and national championship, and will host the regional tournament this weekend at the Wayne Rugby Park.
Coach Darrin Barner said their Round of 16 matchup New York Oneonta on Saturday at 1 p.m. will be a big hurdle for them to clear. The winner of that game will face the winner of Colorado College and Moorhead State on Sunday at 11 a.m.
“This will be a very unique event, having a team from New York in town for the chance to move to the national championship,” he said. “We really would like to see everyone in the area cheering us on in this very important game on Saturday.”
The Wildcat women come into Saturday’s game with their undefeated record of 14-0, including key wins over Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas State, and Barner said the team will need to be running on all cylinders this weekend to go for their seventh national title.
The winner of this regional has won the national championship five of the last six years, and all eyes in the college rugby world will be set on this Saturday matchup.
Also on hand at the game will be many high school recruits coming to see a playoff atmosphere and the facilities at the rugby park. Among those planning to attend are All-American Selma Taylor from Kansas City Midwest Select, Holly Schupbach from Pulaski, Wisc.; and Zoey Olson from Des Moines Iowa Elite, along with more out-of-state recruits.
Barner said Wayne State and New York Oneota will match up very evenly, with both teams running a balanced attack by the scrum and backlines.
“The game will be won or lost on who can maintain on offense, time of possession and playing high-pressure defense when the opponent is in the shadows of their own end zone,” he said.
Admission to the game is free at the Wayne Rugby Park, located just north of the Summer Sports Complex.