41st Annual Rugby Tournament to Be Held in Bethlehem
Lehigh Valley Rugby Football Club to host 7-on-7 tournament.
LEHIGH VALLEY, Pa. (June, 2016) – Widely considered a European and Australian sport, rugby has been around Lehigh Valley longer than many may realize. On June 11, more than four decades of the sport will be celebrated during Lehigh Valley Rugby Football Clubs’ (LVRFC) 41st Annual Summer 7s at Monocacy Park (1554 Schoenersville Rd., Bethlehem, PA).
More than 30 teams are expected to participate in the men’s and women’s divisions, according to LVRFC spokesman Michael Keenan.
“We enjoy the opportunity to support and promote the Lehigh Valley Rugby Football Club and their annual Lehigh Valley Rugby 7’s Tournament,” says Michael Kuzy, Director of Discover Lehigh Valley Sports. “They’re a great organization to work with and they run a terrific tournament every year.”
For the forty-first year in a row, rugby sevens is returning to Lehigh Valley, serving up a preview for this summer’s Olympic games. For the first time since 1924, rugby is returning to the Olympics. Team U.S.A. is looking to defend its Olympic title for the second consecutive time, having beaten France in both 1920 and 1924.
“This year we are adding a premiere bracket to the men’s division,” says Keenan. “This way some of the more competitive teams can test their merit in preparing for later tournaments, where they can qualify for playoffs.”
Rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, even to the point that a professional league has been created in 2016. Nearly half a million people in the U.S. are active, registered players.
“In this variation of rugby, each team fields seven players for seven minute halves. Teams will be placed in groups of four; playing three pool games to determine which team moves on in the playoffs. This year we will have teams coming from New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.”
The Lehigh Valley Rugby Football Club is a non-profit corporation. Founded in 1998, LVRFC represents men’s and women’s rugby in Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas. The club also takes an oversight role for the high school and youth teams, recently aiding in the creation of Moravian Rugby Club and Saucon Valley High School Rugby Club. The men’s team are full members of the Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union. The LVRFC teams are also members territorially through the Mid-Atlantic Conference and nationally through U.S.A. Rugby.
Registration is still currently open for prospective teams on LVRFC’s website: www.pitchero.com/clubs/lehighvalleyrugbyfootballclub.