Angus Bishop | June 14, 2018
Earlier this week USA Rugby released the selections for the 2018 Men's Collegiate All-American Sevens teams, within the selected teams there were a total of 31 D1A athletes selected.
The Wisconsin Rugby Club was founded in 1962 by collegiate students, alumni, and Madison residents both with and without rugby experience. This club proved to be one of the most successful teams in the midwest during the sixties and early seventies. In the 1969 Big Ten Championship match, the Wisconsin Rugby Club claimed the Big Ten title after upsetting Indiana University 9-6 in overtime. This ended IU’s two year unbeaten streak.
In 1977, the University side split from WRC and the present day University of Wisconsin RC came into being – a team comprised entirely of UW undergrads. In 1992 – long time coach Stu Pippel’s final year as head coach – UW won the Midwest Cup and advanced to the National Collegiate Final Four. There, the UW was forced to contend with the three other regional winners – Cal Berkeley, Air Force, and Harvard. UW lost both games and finished fourth in the nation. Stu Pippel has since been replaced by Coach Skip Heffernan.
On the club’s 20th anniversary, Skip and the boys took a giant step forward in the journey to reestablish the UWRC among the collegiate elite. The club finished 8-1 in the 1997 season, and by winning the Wisconsin Union earned the right to represent the state of Wisconsin in the national playoffs. The Badgers won their first match against a tough Illinois team, but eventually fell to Midwest champion Indiana University. In 2012, the Badgers won the inaugural Big Ten 15’s Championship and in 2013 were runners up for the Big Ten title. Wisconsin also competed in the National Collegiate 15’s tournament in 2010, 2011, and 2012. The UW has remained a dominant force in the conference.
The UW is also proud of their dominant 7s team, garnering back-to-back Big Ten championships in 2012 & 2013. Along with victories in multiple CRCs, the Badger 7s squad represented the Big Ten two years in a row at the USA Rugby national 7’s tourneys at Texas A&M and in the Collegiate Rugby Championships in Philadelphia from 2011-2013.
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