Beantown Rugby Leaves Women’s Premier League (WPL)

Beantown RugbyBeantown RFC today announced its decision to withdraw from the Women’s Premiere League and enter New England Rugby Football Union’s Division 1 for the fall 2014 season. Beantown, as one of the original 8 teams during WPL’s inception in 2009, will continue to strive to be at the forefront of Women’s rugby in the USA. While Beantown has enjoyed and succeeded playing in the WPL, membership in the WPL is no longer in the best interest for the Club. 

Withdrawal from the WPL will allow Beantown to focus on financial stability, recruitment and retention, and development of quality players which will allow us to compete to be the best women’s teams in the country. Beantown feels confident that NERFU D1 will provide solid competition in a nurturing and financially appropriate environment for the club. Alongside our D1 team, Beantown will continue to compete in NERFU D2 as well. 

Beantown Women’s Rugby Football Club is a 501c-3 non-profit organization devoted to the development of women’s rugby both in the New England Area and nationally. Beantown Rugby Football Club was founded in the fall of 1976 and quickly established itself as one of the nation’s preeminent women’s rugby teams. The Club has compiled a distinguished record at the National Championship Tournament, placing top-five in every appearance since 1980, including six National Championship titles. 

For more information on Beantown RFC, please go to http://www.beantownrugby.com.


Editor’s Note: We have heard rumors that the WPL is making changes to their format.  But it is just that, rumors at this point.

We do know that the #1 and #2 Club Rugby Champions can choose to challenge for a WPL spot…we highly doubt it for either team as ORSU just came from the WPL and Chicago NS while a strong club had to massively fund-raise to even attend Nationals. We assume this is most likely due to an effort to not drain the bank, not a sign that NS isn’t a strong and organized club.

That leaves the WPL with seven teams unless the eighth team (New York) doesn’t drop or isn’t challenged? Is it time to abandon the WPL and restructure women’s rugby in the USA one more time?

5 thoughts on “Beantown Rugby Leaves Women’s Premier League (WPL)”

  1. Wendy, have you reached out to the WPL governing council for comment prior to your speculation on what will happen due to Beantown’s dropping out? Or to ORSU or Northshore? If so, have they told you anything on the record? Where are the rumors coming from that you have heard but won’t share?

    New York was the 8th place team in the WPL this year, not the DC Furies. ORSU as the D1 Champion should have the opportunity to come up, and have a strong team that would likely fare well in the WPL, should they choose to compete. The WPL is financially difficult for every team and requires a lot of financial sacrafice and fundraising. The structure of Women’s Rugby in the US is not great, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that there aren’t a lot of top women’s rugby players and teams at the moment. The WPL is not ideal by any means, but it does allow for some of the top players in the country to get high level competition. Teams such as Glendale, Atlanta, and Berkeley in particularly would likely not get much challenge in a regional based competition. I personally think it would be best if the WPL opened up to 12 teams to allow more competition and opportunities for good matches to increase the level of play. It is also a shame that USA Rugby no longer supports NASCs.

    Regardless of what happens, the WPL (and D1) teams will likely all look a bit different this fall, given the fact that many WPL players who play for the USA in this summer’s World Cup may retire. But that is pretty common in a WC year and new young and exciting players always step up.

  2. I disagree with the comment below, as I think that the level of rugby has improved in the 5 years since the WPL’s inception. The division 1 and 2 structures as proposed by Beckett’s Demand Rugby plan would be the best option for women’s rugby in the U.S.
    Also, the idea that the WPL breeds high level rugby is a myth, as teams traveling coast to coast with 17 players does not promote high level rugby or the development of a maximum amount of players. It simply breaks banks and impedes development.
    I understand that West coast teams often have to fly to play regardless, but a $200 hopper flight on a Sunday afternoon is drastically different from a $500 red eye, especially in terms of physical recovery.

  3. Expand the WPL and restructure it to be conferences of east and west. Look at what the men are doing with the PRP and see if we could model something after that. Split west coast and east coast conferences during the regular season and have a final for the top two teams at the end of the year. If we had six teams in each conference we play the other 5 teams once and a final. You don’t play everyone home and away, but one or the other. Still get the games in, keep travel to 2 maybe three flights depending on location.

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