Dan Lyle Shield: USA Rugby Men’s Division 4 Championship?

The Ranfurly Shield
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Junoir Blaber

Ranfurly-Shield-stadiumNew York, New York – As mentioned yesterday, USA Rugby has restructured the rugby divisions again. There will only be national playoffs for the first 3 divisions with the 4th division being strictly regional and a social division. We made our predictions for how the first 3 divisions will finish, yesterday.Today, we will provide a solution for championship for that lowly division. This idea was proposed to USAR via the proper channels, however it died on someone’s desk.

The Dan Lyle Shield
The dismantling of the USA Rugby Super League and the re-structuring of divisions means that there will be a Division 4. D4 will not have a national championship or playoffs. The GU/LAU division champ will not be able to pursue high honors until promotion and the start of the following year’s league season.

How about the Dan Lyle Shield.? Or It can be named after Colby Edward Slater, captain of the 1924 Olympic gold winning USA Rugby team or the coach, Charles Austin. The argument for Dan Lyle, however, is because he is hands down, the greatest Eagle of the pro-era and often considered the greatest Tier 2 player ever. The shield will be loosely modeled on NZ’s Ranfurly Shield. Here are the basic outlines/rules of the Shield to that I have come up with to date.

Dan Lyle1. The first initial match will be between the D4 New England GU Champion and the Empire Champion, 2 weeks after the end of the regular season.
A. These two GU’s were chosen because they are near each other and as a member of the Empire GU, it is only right that the Empire GU is represented in the inaugural match for the shield.
B. The Two teams or their respective GUs playing will split the cost of the creation of the shield (a simple plaque to start with, to alleviate costs) and 25 t-shirts announcing them as champions.
2. After the initial match, the winner aka shield holder must have two matches in the exhibition season defined as shield defense games.
A. The requirement of a minimum two matches in the exhibition season defined as shield defense games. Will be the requirement of all teams that hold the shield from that point forth.
B. In order to challenge for a shield match the challenger must
1. Be a D4 team
2. Be the current champion of their GU’s D4 division

All that is needed for this idea to gain momentum is the approval of Mr. Lyle to have his name used in such a manner and the approval of USA Rugby. Here is why USA Rugby should approve it.
1. USA Rugby endorsement legitimizes the Shield.
A. Allowing the holder to claim to be the best D4 team in the nation
2. USA Rugby does not need to spend any money on the Shield or manpower.
A. The Plaques initial cost will be split by the two GUs or teams.
B. Upgrades to the Plaque will at the cost of the GU or team.
C. Scheduling of the matches will occur between the clubs.
D. The scheduling of the ref will be between the host club and it ref society.
E. The cost of travel and etc will be on the challenging club.

This idea could still happen by the end of the Fall 2013 Season. However, it appears that it will not but maybe the right people in USA Rugby are reading this article and will give it some thought.

That’s it for now, feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @: RugbyWrapUp, Junoir Blaber, DJ Eberle, Nick Hall, James Harrington, Cody Kuxmann and Declan Yeats, respectively. And until the next time… stay low and keep pumping those legs.

About Junoir Blaber 868 Articles
Born in Osu, Accra, Ghana, West Africa, Junoir Blaber is a rare commodity; while most Ghanians eat, sleep and dream Soccer (football), Junoir is all about Rugby. A self-proclaimed Rugbyologist, he has been involved in Rugby as a ref, coach, administrator and player since Columbus discovered Ohio. His useful/trivial rugby knowledge qualify Blaber as RWU's Senior Correspondent & known in rugby circles as The Rugby Rain Man. He can also be found moonlighting for our American partners at MeetTheMatts.com.