- Rugby Super League (US)
Infobox sports league
title=Rugby Super League
champion=NYACThe Rugby Super League, usually referred to as simply the Super League and for sponsorship reasons the
MichelobSuper League, is a national rugby unioncompetition contested by eighteen clubs in the United States. The competition is sanctioned by USA Rugby, the sport's national governing body, and is the "premier level" of rugby union in the country. cite web | title=About Rugby Super League | work=usarugbysuperleague.com | url=http://www.usarugbysuperleague.com/template.php?sid=11 | accessdate=31 August|accessyear=2006]
The competition was created in 1996 by the major governing bodies in the USA, in order to create a competitive national competition. The competition has since been contested annually. Today, the teams are divided into three divisions, Red, White, and Blue, and 18 clubs compete in the competition (as of the 2007 season).
The Rugby Super League was created in 1996 by the 14 major governing bodies of the sport in the United States. It was intended to create a competitive and national competition. It was created at a time when there was a need for expansion of the code in the country. 1997 was subsequently the inugural season of the competition. There were 14 teams competing, which were divided into two seven-team divisions, the Western-Pacific Conference and the Midwestern-East Conference.
The original competing sides in the 1997 season were;
Belmont Shore RFC, the Chicago Lions, the Dallas Harlequins, the Denver Barbarians, the Gentlemen of Aspen, the Kansas City Blues, Life, Old Blue, Old Puget Sound Beach RFC, Old Mission Beach Athletic Club RFC, the Potomac Athletic Club RFC, Golden Gate Rugby Club and Washington RFC. Aspen won the first championship, defeating Old Blue 29 points to nine in the final which was played in New York.
The following season, two more sides gained entry into the competition, being,
Boston RFCand the Philadelphia Whitemarsh RFC. Both sides joined the eastern conference, which saw the Harlequins move to the Western conference. This expansion saw two fifteen-side conferences. In 2001 the competition became recognized as the premier club rugby union competition in the United States - becoming separated from USA Rugby Division 1. The following season, the league expanded again, with the inclusion of New York Athletic Club, who gained entry through means of promotion and the Hayward Rugby, who formed a merger with Old Blue.
The 2002 season saw major changes to the competition, with the "east and west divisions" format being dissolved to form a national competition. The format reverted back to the division-associated fixtures in 2005. Super League celebrated a decade of competition in 2006, with OMBAC defeating Belmont Shore 36 to 33 in the final which was held in
Santa Clara, California. It was announced after the 2006 season that the Rugby Super League would be expanding from 15 teams to 18 for the 2007 season. Santa Monica Rugbyaccepted an invitation to join Super League, as did the Boston Irish Wolfhounds, who also finished runner-up in both Divisions I and III in 2006.cite web | title=Boston Irish Wolfhounds To Join USA Rugby Super League | work=rugby-rugby.com | url=http://www.planet-rugby.com/Teams/USA/story_53411.shtml | accessdate=31 August|accessyear=2006] The Chicago Griffins also joined to replace the Kansas City Blues, who self-relegated their club to the USA Rugby Division I men's club competition.
A major event took place in the 2008 season, with the live broadcast on ESPN Classics of the RSL Final between NYAC and Belmont Shore. It was an extremely hard fought match that saw NYAC winning 31-28 in sudden death extra time. The league will feature 16 teams in two conferences in 2009, as Philadelphia Whitemarsh and Washington RFC will not return to the competition.
Rugby union in the United States
North America 4
United States national rugby union team
* [http://www.usarugbysuperleague.com Official website]
* [http://www.premier-rugby.com/template2.php 2008 RSL website]
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