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Allied Rugby Conference – Press Release

T5½ Rugby Development Group is pleased to announce the formation of a new DI-AA rugby conference for the 2012 – 2013 competitive cycle. The Allied Rugby Conference, proudly sponsored by World Rugby Shop, will feature both a Fall 7s competition and a spring 15s competition. Conference paperwork has been submitted to USA Rugby for approval and at the time of submission the conference has 5 charter members: Oklahoma University, Sam Houston State University, St. Edwards University, Texas A&M University, and Texas Tech University.

The mission of the Allied Rugby Conference is to get like-minded clubs in the same space to promote working collectively towards a common goal: To raise the standard of our players, administrators, coaches, referees and the quality of the game in our region. The ARC will develop a conference culture that promotes the idea that “rising tides raise all ships.” The conference will look to partner with other local entities such as Rugby Texas, The Texas Rugby Union, and the Texas Rugby Referee Association in order to facilitate our mission.

According to ARC Executive Director Johnny Smith, the primary goal of the ARC is to assist clubs to reach their maximum potential and raise the standard of rugby throughout the region. “T5 ½ has worked diligently for the past 2 years to provide low cost, high quality rugby services to the rugby community, so our thinking was that we could bring the same professional attitude to a collegiate rugby conference. When we first had the idea for the conference, we sought out teams that were looking for something new, something bigger than their individual club. We want all of the clubs in the ARC to improve, both on and off the field. The ARC is looking to give the clubs much more than just a competition or pathway to Nationals. While the conference does not currently have the required number of teams to garner an automatic bid to nationals for the conference champion, we believe the professional approach T5 ½ brings to the table, along with sponsors such as World Rugby Shop, and the inclusion of clubs with a “big picture” mentality, will allow all of our goals to be accomplished.”

It is the intention of the Allied Rugby Conference to develop a pathway to nationals in 7s and 15s rugby for its member clubs, whether that is from an automatic seed for the conference champion, regional playoffs, or at large bids. ”The ARC is also interested in developing “Bowl Game” event opportunities with our neighboring conferences” stated interim Competitions Director, Craig Coates.

Another stated goal of the competition is garnering an automatic qualifier to the CRC 7s event in June of 2013. “We have some great programs included in the ARC that can provide both top notch competition and marketing to the CRC 7s. We will have a full ARC 7s series in the fall that will offer our members the best opportunity to seize upon the momentum that Olympic 7s has provided to rugby” stated Coates.

In addition to the World Rugby Shop Sponsorship, the ARC will provide several other significant benefits to the member clubs; including a platform for game-film sharing, best practice resources for running and operating a college rugby club, game film for the referees, a high school recruiting program, and an ARC game of the week that will be webcast each weekend. The conference is set up to provide development opportunities for players and coaches and will also providing a mechanism for referee development.”

Brad Kilpatrick, Partnership Manager for World Rugby Shop is excited to be a sponsor of the conference; “As a company, World Rugby Shop constantly strives to support those groups and organizations that help move our game forward with high standards, professionalism, and ambition. We are proud to say that we have partnered with just such a group with the Allied Rugby Conference. Their commitment to making a competition structure that benefits the participating teams, referees and sponsors like us, speaks to their desire to create a league with a vision. World Rugby Shop is happy to be a part of making that vision a reality.”

T5 ½ will continue to accept applications for the conference until Aug. 1st 2012. “The only difference now is acceptance to the conference will be based on charter member voting. We would like to add 2-3 qualified teams but are excited to move forward with the 5 charter members” Smith said. If you are interested in applying, please check out our temporary ARC home page at http://www.t5andahalf.com/Allied_Rugby_Conference.html and submit an inquiry. You may also contact Johnny Smith directly at jsmith@t5andahalf.com.

T5 1/2 Rugby Development Group was founded in August of 2010 by Craig Coates and Johnny Smith in order to bring low cost, high quality services to rugby clubs throughout the region. Each and every service is specifically designed for the recipient club and its players. These services include camps, clinics, game filming and webcasting, video editing and consulting work. T5 ½ has a combined 25 years of experience in the USA Rugby Collegiate Division. You can find our profiles at www.t5andahalf.com.