Women’s Premiere League off and running

USA Rugby Women’s Premier League Ready for Launch

BOULDER, Colo. – Newly introduced for the 2009 club rugby season, the Women’s Premier League (WPL) is poised for its nationwide kick off on Sunday, Sept. 6. The WPL pits the top senior women’s clubs across the U.S. against each other in an elite six-match competition culminating in a National Championship in November.
“I am excited and hopeful about the kickoff of the WPL season. From a National Teams perspective I look forward to our players having the type of consistent challenge on a weekly basis that will further their development in this year before the 2010 World Cup,” Women’s National Team Head Coach Kathy Flores said. “When the WNT tours we see a huge growth spurt in our players’ performance due to working together but mostly from the constant competition.”

In the inaugural year, the WPL will feature eight of the top-placing senior women’s clubs, formerly of Division 1 competition. These pilot eight squads were selected based on ranking the overall finish order from the last three National Championships and each club’s interest in joining the Premier League.

The teams have been split into two conferences based on seeding and will compete in a home and away match versus each of the teams within their respective conferences, building up to the Championship.

The Red Conference features defending Division I champions the Berkeley All-Blues, the Minnesota Valkyries, Twin Cities Amazons and Oregon Sports Union, while the Blue Conference showcases New York Rugby Club, Beantown (Boston), Keystone (Philadelphia) and the Washington Furies (D.C.).

“One of the primary goals of the WPL is to raise the level of women’s domestic competition within the United States and I think these eight clubs have stepped up to the challenge. The WPL promises to showcase some hard-fought battles, as every match throughout the season counts toward the final seeding for the Championship – it’s do or die every single week,” USA Rugby Women’s High Performance Manager Alex Williams said.

Held in conjunction with the Women’s Division I Club Championships on Treasure Island in San Francisco, the Women’s Premier League finals will be played Nov. 6-8, with each team playing two matches over three days.

Teams will be re-seeded based on the results of the regular season conference matches with the top four teams competing for the Cup (1 plays 4, 2 plays 3, winners play for Cup, losers for Plate) and the bottom four teams competing for the Bowl (5 plays 8, 6 plays 7, winners play for Bowl).

Promotion/relegation with the winners of the Division I National Championship will be explored at the end of the competitive cycle, to provide incentive for additional clubs to rise to the highest league.

“This is an exciting development opportunity for Women’s club rugby in the U.S. With the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup just a year away, it’s important that the National Team coaches get to see the best players in a competitive environment,” USA Rugby CEO and President of Rugby Operations Nigel Melville said. “The WPL will hopefully make the jobs of the Women’s National Team selectors more challenging.”
Stay tuned for regular WPL updates from USA Rugby as the season progresses. For more information on the Women’s Premiere League visit www.usarugby.org or http://womenspremierleaguerugby.blogspot.com/.

RED CONFERENCE
1. Berkeley All-Blues
4. Minnesota Valkyries
5. Twin Cities Amazons
8. Oregon Sports Union (ORSU)

2009 SCHEDULE
MATCH DATE HOME v AWAY
1 Sept 6 Valkyries v All-Blues
Amazons v ORSU
2 Sept 13 All-Blues v Amazons
ORSU v Valkyries
OFF Sept 20
3 Sept 27 ORSU v All-Blues
Valkyries v Amazons
4 Oct 4 All-Blues v Valkyries
ORSU v Amazons
OFF Oct 11
5 Oct 18 Amazons v All-Blues
Valkyries v ORSU
6 Oct 25 Amazons v Valkyries
All-Blues v ORSU
OFF Nov 1
Natl.
Champ Nov 6-8 ALL 8 Teams
BLUE CONFERENCE
2. New York
3. Beantown
6. Keystone
7. Washington Furies
2009 SCHEDULE
MATCH DATE HOME v AWAY
1 Sept 6 Beantown v NY
Keystone v Furies
2 Sept 13 NY v Keystone
Beantown v Furies
OFF Sept 20
3 Sept 27 Furies v NY
Keystone v Beantown
4 Oct 4 NY v Beantown
Furies v Keyston
OFF Oct 11
5 Oct 18 Keystone v NY
Furies v Beantown
6 Oct 25 Beantown v Keystone
NY v Furies
OFF Nov 1
Natl.
Champ Nov 6-8 ALL 8 Teams

Catch this Sunday’s (9/6) match-ups LIVE:
– Keystone v Furies: 12 p.m. at intersection of Franklin and Filmore, Phoenixville, PA
– Amazons v ORSU: 10 a.m. at 4201 Lexington Ave., Eagon, MN
– Beantown v NY:12:30 p.m. at Pine Banks Park in Malden, MA www.pinebanks.org
– Valkyries v. Berkeley: 11 a.m. at 800 Columbia Pkwy/Blvd, Minneapolis, MN
For more information on the Women’s Premier League, visit http://womenspremierleaguerugby.blogspot.com.

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