2023 DII Rugby Team ChampionsThe Indiana University of Pennsylvania Rugby Club won the national championship against the University of Memphis on Sunday, December 10, in Houston, Texas. After four consecutive semesters qualifying for the national championship, IUP Men’s Rugby finished the fall semester as national champions after defeating the University of Memphis for the DII cup.

In the United States, college rugby teams have two separate seasons: one in the fall (15s or fifteens) and one in the spring (7s or sevens), referring to the number of players for each team allowed on the field. For 15s, each match is 80 minutes long, divided into two 40-minute halves.

By winning the national championship in 15s, IUP Men’s Rugby has proven a successful full season. This is the first 15s national championship for the Rugby Club, after winning their first 7s national title in 2022 against the University of Lander in New Orleans. In spring 2023, the Crimson Hawks won another national championship by beating North Carolina State. 

This marks the club's third national championship in two years. At IUP, the Men’s Rugby Club is a student-run athletic club, one of several at the university. 

The Rugby Team returned to Indiana on Monday, December 11, trophy in hand. Head coach Seth Erwin said, “It feels fantastic to add another national championship to the list of IUP Rugby’s achievements over the past few years. We dominated our sevens gameplay, and now, we can boast that we have achieved greatness in our fifteens gameplay.”

“Rugby is truly a team sport, so the team deserves all the recognition for this significant achievement,” said Erwin. “We continue to put IUP on the map, not only for winning national championships but for the overall dedication of our members. We’ve worked hard this semester, and the national championship trophy will be proudly displayed at IUP.”

2023 Championship CubIUP Vice President of Student Affairs Thomas Segar said, “I’m continually amazed by the dedication and hard work of our Rugby Club. We have the best team in the nation, and the team and coaches deserve this hard-earned achievement. IUP could not be prouder of every person who has dedicated their time, energy, and talent that has led the team to winning the national championship.”

With sevens just around the corner, the Rugby Club will continue to work toward national recognition again. Erwin says, “Our goal was to succeed in the fifteens gameplay this season. As champions, we look forward to returning to our sevens season in the spring. I could not be prouder of this group of players. Remember, don’t blink; every moment goes by quickly!”

For more details, visit the IUP Rugby Club’s page on Crimson Connect. Talons up!