As you know, due to the USA Rugby suspension of play arising from the global COVID-19 pandemic, the TRU and RRRC have made the decision to cancel the remainder of the 2019-2020 season and the scheduled XVs championships.
On a relative scale, the cancellation of rugby may be perceived as a minor inconvenience – but members of the rugby community are understandably heartbroken. Many of our lives revolve around rugby; our teammates are our family and we push ourselves to the point of physical and mental exhaustion just for this “game”.
We want to take a moment to applaud the efforts and dedication shown by all of the TRU clubs this season. Seven clubs had their inaugural season cut short and another seven clubs (ten different sides) had undefeated seasons stopped in their tracks. Countless more clubs struggled with numbers but ramped up their efforts and continued to move forward to honor their commitments. It’s not just the performance we see on the pitch – clubs raised money for charities, supported local businesses, and gave time back to grow the newest generation of rugby players. We are immensely proud of our members and everything they have achieved this season.
While the RRRC committee understandably wrestled with the above decision, they also had a lengthy discussion around if divisional champions should be awarded. Recognizing that not all divisions had “locked” up their front runners but that some teams were undefeated…it was an agonizing decision. Ultimately in a narrow vote, the committee determined that we would NOT decide divisional champions for 2019-2020. *
What happens now? Everything that happened this year is worthless? Time, money, and effort was put in for nothing? No. We are in entirely new territory – a global pandemic wasn’t really part of the plan. So we must work with what we have. If the 2019-2020 season has no official winners, it also has no official losers. Thus, the promotion/relegation rules do not apply as they have in seasons past. Instead we take a team-forward approach.
In the coming weeks, the TRU and RRRC will be sending surveys out to all member clubs. We ask that you take an honest look at your club and the divisions you currently play in. How can the TRU and RRRC better provide for your club as an independent entity? What do your clubs need in order to grow and get better? We’re all frustrated with how this season has ended, but the question now is how can we all move forward and make next year as great as it can be?
With USA Rugby reorganizing, the geographical unions will govern the club competition going forward, and we want to make the most of this opportunity to make the Red River competitions even better. Our mission remains more people playing better rugby. We seek to grow and improve, and have more fun doing it!
*For in-depth minutes surrounding this discussion please see our RRRC Competitions Committee meeting minutes from April 13th.