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Virginia Tech

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Although the men’s rugby team at Virginia Tech was officially started in the fall of 1968, rugby was actually first played in Blacksburg 87 years earlier. Students at the 20 year old Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (VAMC) had no organized sports at the time. Those wishing to play any kind of game simply found a level spot available and started one.

The very first organized game of rugby football was played in the fall of 1891 on an uneven wheat field. The students liked it so much that they decided to form a team the following year. Rugby had established itself in the United States through its universities and in particular the Ivy League schools. The game then started to spread to other schools, the length and breadth of the United States.

Unfortunately for rugby, at this point during the 19th century, the United States was still trying to develop a new national culture, independent of its English colonial roots; the same way it had become politically independent the previous century. And the developing game of rugby was struggling to catch on with a new American version of the game quickly becoming more popular on campuses.

And so it was at VAMC. Although, it’s quite possible that the first recorded football game on 21st October 1892 against St. Albans of Radford would have looked more like rugby than football, it was football that took hold in Blacksburg and not rugby.

Since 1968, the Virginia Tech rugby players have been proud to represent their school and the Hokie nation at the highest level of inter-collegiate athletics.

Throughout the 1970’s and 80’s, Virginia Tech was one of the best rugby teams on the East Coast. Between 1980 and 2003 it won the Virginia State Tournament for college teams seventeen times. Chip Henderson became the first Hokie All-American in 1987.

Despite this success, it was not until 1995 that the Hokies played on the national stage. Between 1995 and 2003 Virginia Tech qualified for the USA Rugby Collegiate National Championships, seven times. In 1998 they reached the round of eight losing to Cal 36-6.

During this period, Virginia Tech produced four All-Americans. Dan Roller in 1998, 1999 and 2000, Jeff Millar in 1999 and 2000 and Aaron Beuhring in 2000.

Virginia Tech plays rugby in both the fall and spring semesters. In the fall, they compete in collegiate Sevens tournaments such as the Atlantic Coast Rugby Sevens and then play a series of 15 aside games towards the end of the fall semester in preparation for the spring conference schedule. The Junior Varsity side will play a full season of friendly games in the fall. In the spring, Virginia Tech competes in the Atlantic Coast Rugby League. The winners of the league go on to play at the USA Rugby national championships.

This year the Hokies have started to run a separate Sevens program in the fall. They won the Atlantic Coast Rugby Sevens Championship in Virginia Beach and have qualified for the Collegiate Rugby Championship for the first time.

For the past few years the level of awareness of rugby on campus has increased. With some of the best recreational sports facilities in the country and the start of a rugby endowment with the Virginia Tech Foundation, the future looks very bright.

Contact: Coach Andy Richards [email protected]

Sunday, 31 May
05/31/2015 02:35 PM Plate Semi #2PPL Park
Virginia Tech10 1027 UCLA27
Saturday, 30 May
05/30/2015 03:07 PM Pool APPL Park Stadium
U. of California12 127 Virginia Tech7
05/30/2015 11:00 AM Pool APPL Park Stadium
Virginia Tech17 1717 Boston College17
05/30/2015 09:00 AM Pool AAcademy Field 2
Notre Dame19 1936 Virginia Tech36





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About Jeff McDowell