University of New England to Promote Womens Rugby to Varsity Status

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RWU HQ – Time and time again fans and the public in general draw all of their attention to Division I athletics, well I’m not going to let that happen here!

UNE Women's rugby

The UNE women’s rugby team at the Beast of the East Tournament in April.

The University of New England, in Biddeford, Maine, announced on Tuesday that they are promoting their women’s rugby program to varsity status. The women’s rugby team of over 25 athletes will move from it’s current status as a club team to a varsity sport just in time for the 2015 fall season. The club currently competes in the NERFU – NSCRO North.

“As a result of our master planning, these options have emerged as important programs for student recruitment and retention,” UNE President Danielle N. Ripich, Ph.D. said in a news release, according to Bangor Daily News. “These sports will add on-campus experiences for our athletic training students and may provide healthy sports training for our exercise science and physical therapy students.”

Along with elevating the women’s rugby program, UNE will be adding football to their varsity schedule in the fall of 2017. According to the Bangor Daily News, Ripich says the addition of a football program and the promotion of the women’s rugby team well help balance the gender demographic at the university, which is currently 65 percent female. The women’s rugby team will play on a grass field that was recently constructed on campus, according to the Maine newspaper.

Elevating the women’s rugby program is just one example of how colleges and universities around the United States can gain interest in rugby while athletes are still at their peak physically. Other schools should follow in UNE’s footsteps.

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DJ Eberle is easily the largest of the RWU Team; Offensive Tackle Large. In fact, this Albany native played OT for Western New England University until he graduated in 2014. Like Junoir Blaber, he's moonlights on MeetTheMatts.com. His Dad played prop with Johnathan Wicklow Barberie and Matt McCarthy - who also in a MeetTheMatts.com moonlighter. DJ's cross to bear, however, is his love for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. There is hope, though, that his genetic inclination for Rugby, will cure him of that! Follow him on Twitter: @DJEberle66

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