BOULDER, Colo. – D1A’s Rugby East Conference will expand to eight teams with the University of Delaware set to rejoin the competition for the fall 2016 season.
Previously a member of D1A and Rugby East, the Delaware program was given a five-year suspension in the fall of 2013, but the Blue Hens returned to the pitch less than two years later following multiple appeals.
St. Bonaventure Head Coach and Rugby East Commissioner Clarence Picard speaks for the entire conference when detailing Delaware’s return.
“Delaware has a proud history as one of the most competitive college teams on the east coast,” noted Picard. “The programs of Rugby East unanimously voted to welcome Delaware into the fold, and we are excited to add another serious program to our ranks.
“Coach [Struan] Murray and the Blue Hens have proven their desire to compete at the highest level, and we are excited to have them join us on that quest.”
In the team’s first season in two years, the Blue Hens tested themselves eight times, including four matches against current Rugby East sides. An early fixture against Kutztown provided Delaware several learning experiences, and helped the Blue Hens to be far more competitive in October dates versus Penn State and Wheeling Jesuit.
The three-month slate of matches culminated with a showdown against Iona in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Bowl, in which Delaware earned a hard-fought, 36-29, win over the 18th-ranked Gaels.