Category: National Championships

Wisconsin Finishes 2nd In Nation for 2015-2016 Season

Another historic year of rugby came to a close Saturday, June 4 as the Wisconsin Women’s Rugby team capped the 2015-2016 season as the USA Rugby Division 2 National Runners-Up.

Undefeated in all D2 competition throughout the year, Wisconsin lost its national title match to the Life West Gladiatrix (Hayward, CA) 66-20.

Via USA Rugby:

Life West steals Women’s DII Club title from holder Wisconsin
Chad Wise • June 4, 2016

GLENDALE, Colo. – Life West scored 12 tries in a 66-20 defeat of reigning title-holder Wisconsin Saturday to win the USA Rugby Emirates Airline Women’s Division II National Championship in its first year in the competition.

Beginning a five-match championship weekend at Infinity Park, the Gladiatrix ticked the scoreboard from the opening minute of the match to the end of the 80th, starving Wisconsin of the possession necessary to launch a proper title defense.

Catherine Benson and Angelina Lomu each recorded a hat trick of tries, with Lomu scoring her first of three in the first minute of the match. Life West found several gaps in the Wisconsin defense from the opening restart and the first pass out to the wing landed in Lomu’s hands for a broken Grace Hovde tackle and 40-meter run to the try zone.

Wisconsin had a few set pieces turned over by the Gladiatrix in the following minutes, and the pressure inside the team’s half of the field yielded more points for Life West. Despite a mishandled pass on the wing, prop Catherine Benson used her mobility and strength to get through the line from five meters for a 12-0 lead.

Benson doubled her tally in the 10th minute after full back Cameo Motley created a gap along the gain line inside her own half. She was taken down with a high tackle within 10 meters of the try line, and Benson received the first pass from the tap for a 17-0 score.

Wisconsin got on the scoreboard through Ashley Shaw but Life West replied immediately for a 22-7 lead midway through the first frame. The Gladiatrix went over the line twice in the span of five minutes, though both attempts at five points were deemed to have been held up by the match official. Continuing to dominate the set pieces, Life West kept the ball in the offensive third and fly half Megan Foster went over the line from a scrum win.

Foster set up the next try – and successfully kicked the conversion – to extend the lead to 34-7 with a break inside the offensive 22. Motley took the ball over, and Pinson followed suit from five meters for a 39-7 score line. Benson rounded out the first 40 minutes with her hat trick from the final restart, 44-7.

Life West had used its quick offloading and strength to create gaps and bust through defenders throughout the opening frame, and continued until the final whistle. Wisconsin refused to be ignored, scoring two tries and kicking one penalty goal, but No. 8 Jenn Sever scored a brace of tries and set up her scrum half, Lauren Kenyon, for one for a 66-20 final.

Foster, the match’s Most Valuable Player, cited Life West’s ability with ball in hand as well as reading the opposition as the team’s keys to victory – in addition to the first-minute start.

“I think the first try really set the tone,” the AIG Women’s Collegiate All-American said. “We just feed off of that. Every game that we’ve scored early it’s just been non-stop. We just go with each other, kept it positive out there, and when we do that we’re pretty unstoppable.

“Wisconsin were definitely tough and had some hard hits. Credit to them for playing hard. But I think we did really well exploiting their weaknesses. We saw space wide, we used our hands to get it wide, had players cutting back in, read their hips; we came out and played our best.”

Life West Gladiatrix | Women’s DII National Championship
1. Tupou V Palu
2. Aubrey Huey
3. Catherine Benson
4. Megan Pinson
5. Rose Russell
6. Mele Taumoefolau
7. Tiara Littleton
8. Jennifer Sever
9. Lauren Kenyon
10. Megan Foster
11. Angelina Lomu
12. Andie Toetu’u
13. Hali Deters
14. Mirelle Raza
15. Cameo Motley
16. Sarah MacArthur
17. Moana Blandford
18. Vika Eli
19. Fane Eli
20. Alivia Picardo
21. Ilai’Saane Kefu-Teaupa
22. Jessica Lewis

Wisconsin | Women’s DII National Championship
1. Sarah Thomas
2. Emily Mastandrea
3. Melissa Polheber
4. Brittany Aprahamian
5. Jill Lehmann
6. Samantha Clevenger
7. Lauren McCormack
8. Grace Hovde
9. Kristine Peterson
10. Jennifer Johnson
11. Felicia Carlson
12. Shannon Walsh
13. Ashley Shaw
14. Justine Wypych
15. Sybil Levine
16. Sarah Pinkston
17. Katie Klas
18. Alayna Hronek
19. Corin Jensen
20. Callie Graves
21. Kimberly Gilmore
23. Tamara Wade
24. Cecilia Smith

13406974_10153585880541680_144019649975564686_n2015-2016 USA Rugby National Final – Official Team Photo for Wisconsin Women’s Rugby Football Club. Saturday, June 4, 2016. Photo taken by Patrick Barron.




Wisconsin Advances Back to USA Rugby National Final June 4

The Wisconsin Women’s Rugby team won both its matches at the USA Rugby National Playoffs in Pittsburgh, Pa., this past weekend, May 21-22.

With the two wins, Wisconsin now advances to the USA Rugby Senior Club Division 2 Women’s National Championship on Saturday, June 4 in Glendale, Colorado.

As the East Champions, Wisconsin will play the West Champions, the Life West Gladiatrix from California. News recap here from The Breakdown.

Wisconsin defeated the Charlotte (NC) Women, 67-19, on Saturday, May 21 in the national Round of 8. News recap here from the Breakdown.

In the national Final 4, Wisconsin defeated the Harrisburg (PA) Harlots, 31-17, on Sunday, May 22, in very poor, muddy field conditions to advance to their second-straight USA Rugby National Championship. Wisconsin is the reigning 2015 Division 2 National Champions.

The team needs your help to travel to Colorado to defend the national title. Please consider a donation to help us reach our $10,000 goal.

Happy Winners! East Champions!
Happy Winners! East Champions!

Wisconsin Travels to USA Rugby National Playoffs, Round of 8 vs. Charlotte Women

[WWRFC team photo by Patrick Barron]

After winning the team’s second-straight Midwest Division 2 women’s championship May 8, the Wisconsin Women are now traveling to Pittsburgh, Pa., for the 2016 USA Rugby National Playoffs Friday, May 20 – Sunday, May 22.

This is USA Rugby’s “Elite 8” and “Final 4” weekend. Wisconsin will need to win both of its matches in Pittsburgh to return to Glendale, Colorado on Sunday, June 5 to defend its 2015 USA Rugby National Championship.

Wisconsin will face the South Champion Charlotte (North Carolina) Women on Saturday, May 21 at 10:45 a.m. central/11:45 a.m. eastern.

A full schedule of all matches in Pittsburgh is below.

The match will be livestreamed on Wisconsin will also be providing a live twitter feed from the sidelines via the team’s account – Additionally, fans can follow the team’s new Snapchat account all weekend – Snapchat user name WIWomensRugby.

The Pittsburgh regional will also host the Division 2 Round of 8 match between the Burlington (Vermont) Women and the Harrisburg Harlots (Pennsylvania) at the same time on Saturday. The winners of the two Saturday matches will play Sunday at 10:45 CT/11:45 ET. The losers will play a consolation match at 7:15 a.m. CT/8:15 a.m. ET. All of Sunday’s matches will also be livestreamed.

Wisconsin is raising $10,000 to fund its trip to the national playoffs in Pittsburgh and possible trip to Glendale, Colorado should the team continue to win and advance. Please consider making a donation to help the team offset travel costs here.

usarugby_pittsburgh schedule

Wisconsin Women Win 2016 Midwest Championship, Qualify for USA Rugby Nationals

The Wisconsin Women’s Rugby team won the 2016 Midwest Women’s Division 2 Championship this past weekend. This is the second-straight Midwest title for Wisconsin and fifth-straight Midwest final four appearance.

Wisconsin defeated the Buffalo Women 100-5 Saturday in the Midwest semifinal and fought-back from a halftime 19-21 deficit to defeat rivals the Milwaukee Scylla 47-33 to claim the trophy. The regional final was considered a national round of 16 (“Sweet 16”) match and was quite the battle to watch for fans in attendance.

The club has qualified for the USA Rugby national playoffs (“Elite 8”) in Pittsburgh, Pa., May 21-22. As the Midwest’s top seed, Wisconsin will play the South’s champion, the Charlotte (NC) Women that Saturday. The winner will play the winner of the other national playoff match between the Burlington (VT) Women (Northeast Champion) and the Harrisburg Harlots (PA, Mid-Atlantic Champion) on Sunday, May 22. Sunday’s winner will advance to the USA Rugby national final two weeks later in Glendale, Co.

Wisconsin is the reigning 2015 USA Rugby National Champions.

Stay tuned for more detailed updates soon!

Wisconsin Playoff April 30, Friends & Family Day with Pledges For Points Fundraiser

wwrfc_cover_spring2016_playoffsAlthough the opponent and kickoff time is still to be determined, the Wisconsin Women have earned home-field advantage for the first round of the Midwest Division 2 Women’s playoffs on Saturday, April 30 at the Wisconsin Rugby Sports Complex.

Wisconsin welcomes all of our Alumni, Friends, and Family to join us that Saturday to cheer us on to another big playoff win and send us to our fifth-straight Midwest Final Four the following weekend.

You can also RSVP for more updates to our Facebook event for Alumni, Friends & Family Day here.

The team encourages all of our fans to wear their best Wisconsin red and also help us raise travel funds through our Pledges For Points.

WWRFC Pledges For Points Fundraiser – April 30

Help the defending Division 2 National Champion Wisconsin Women’s Rugby Football Club raise money for playoffs by joining this pledge drive! To join this fundraiser fill out this survey or email your pledge details to

On April 30, we will play a Midwest quarterfinal match at the Wisconsin Rugby Sports Complex in Cottage Grove, Wis., to qualify for the Midwest Final Four in Chicago, Ill. You can help us raise money for Midwests and beyond by pledging a dollar amount for each point we score in our April 30 match. Example: you pledge $1 for each point, we score 25 points in our Midwest quarterfinal match = $25 donation.

Sign up here for Pledges For Points!

After the match, we will send you an email with your total donation amount and you will be able to submit your pledge fulfillment via cash, check, or PayPal. We appreciate any amount you can pledge and you don’t have to be present at the game to participate! This fundraiser will help us as we embark on playoffs in May! As with all of our fundraising events, 5% of all funds raised will go into our team endowment fund.  In the event we don’t advance in playoffs, we will earmark funds for future travel expenses.

USA Rugby Feature: Women of Wisconsin Eye Big Spring After Undefeated Fall

The Wisconsin Women were featured by USA Rugby on the national governing body’s website and social media channels March 24.

USA Rugby Feature Article - Wisconsin WomenHere’s the article via USA Rugby:

Alex Solomon
March 24, 2016
Photo by JD Black

“If we do well in the Midwest, I’m sure the excitement and hunger will grow, but no one is looking ahead.”

LAFAYETTE, Colo. – Wisconsin Women’s Rugby Football Club’s 2015 Division II National Championship took some by surprise. However, Wisconsin’s form and undefeated 2015-16 record is proof the squad from Madison is far from a one-year wonder.

A 2015 fall campaign produced a 7-0 mark and a plus-267 point differential for Wisconsin against its Midwest rivals. Still, the reigning National Champion’s road to the 2016 Midwest Playoffs has not been as seamless as its unblemished record would indicate.

“The fall season has been a sorting out process for us as much as anything,” Head Coach Bob Jafferis said. “We lost four starters from last year’s Championship game, and several other players that have started a lot of games for us have also retired or moved on. In addition, we had several players change positions for this year.”

It is going to take more than a few retirements and some tinkering of combinations to slow down a club with a 41-year history. While less-experienced players have done well to fill roles in the first XV, several Wisconsin stalwarts have somehow continued to up their game and the club’s stakes.

Up front, tight head prop Melissa Polheber leads one of the best front rows Jafferis has ever coached. In the back row, open side flanker Kris Peterson is heavily relied on for her energy and go-forward ball, and No. 8 Grace Hovde is always dangerous with ball in hand.

Not to be forgotten is 2015 National Championship MVP Justine Wypych. The quick-footed winger continues to be a thorn in the foot of opposing defensives, dotting down nine times over six conference games this past fall.

The experience of outmatching an established Sacramento Amazons team, 38-28, in last year’s Final, and carrying a 7-0 mark into the spring has not encouraged Wisconsin to make any plans beyond its April 30 opening-round Midwest Playoff fixture.

“I don’t think anyone is looking beyond the Midwest,” said Jafferis. “They know how tough it was last year to win and advance. So, they know to expect a big challenge. If we do well in the Midwest, I’m sure the excitement and hunger will grow, but no one is looking ahead.”

One final conference game remains on Wisconsin’s schedule, an April 16 visit to Milwaukee to face Scylla, but the top seed out of the Midwest DII West 2 league is all but claimed by the women who train out of Cottage Grove, Wisc. That top seed spells a Midwest Semifinal against either the Chicago Sirens or Fort Wayne. Historically, Wisconsin holds a favorable record over the Sirens, whereas the reigning champ has never faced Fort Wayne.

A victory in the Midwest Semifinal could potentially set up a regional final versus Chicago’s County Will Morrigans. The Morrigans are having an equally impressive season, as the team’s lone loss came to the Minnesota Valkyries’ Division I side.

“We think we are positioned to do well, but we have a lot of respect for the other teams in the Midwest,” Jafferis commended.

If it sounds like Wisconsin is humble it is because it is. But the club is also less concerned about results, and chooses to concern itself with the main reason its members still lace up the boots.

“Our first goal is always to have fun,” added Jafferis. “Rugby is a game, and we want to have fun playing.”

Plenty of rugby stands between Wisconsin and a return visit to Colorado’s Infinity Park for the 2016 Club National Championships, but one thing is for certain: the women of Wisconsin will not be sneaking up on anyone this spring.

Article from USA Rugby. Photo by JD Black.

Wisconsin Ranked #2 in the Country

New women’s rugby news website The Breakdown issued its first set of spring national rankings for senior Division 2 women March 23. Wisconsin earned a #2 ranking nationally across the competition.

Via the Breakdown:

So much has changed since last year – teams moved to and from DI, clubs bulked up schedules for a nationals run, and others fell completely off of the radar. This first ranking of the year relies on current results and blends them with the relative strength of regions as demonstrated at last year’s nationals, while also accounting for teams that have left the division. It also serves as a general update on what’s happening around the country.

First, here’s a look at the teams that look particularly strong this year:

Life West is a new team and should be playing in DI, if there was such a competition in the region. The Gladiatrix dominate NorCal and are propelled by Eagles like Jenn Sever and Catie Benson, and age-grade fixtures like Megan Pinson and Megan Foster – among many other talented players. The only drawback – other than meaningful competition – is the post-season barrier they provide to other good DII teams.

Defending DII champion Wisconsin is looking good again at 7-0 and would surprise no one if it returned to the national title match. Like all of the Midwest (and Northeast and Mid-Atlantic), the majority of the regular season was contested in the fall, and the final league games will occur in April. Needless to say, Wisconsin is the Midwest favorite.

See the full rankings article here.

Rank. Team (Record). Recent results
1. Life West (7-0). Lopsided victories in NorCal; won Champagne Classic
2. Wisconsin (7-0). Won Whiskey 10s; last league game April 16
3. Emerald City (6-0). Big lead in Pacific Northwest; beat Tacoma 58-0
4. Burlington (5-1). Atlantic North champion; idle until April 16
5. Augusta (4-0). Defeated Charleston 64-5; lost 25-0 friendly to DI Raleigh
6. Charlotte (5-0). Defeated Eno River 72-0; defeated league opponents 306-19
7. SFGG (4-2). Defeated San Jose 96-15; lost 62-6 to Life West
8. Providence (4-2). Idle until April 2
9. Tucson (5-0). Defeated reigning league champ Fullerton 26-5
10. Cincinnati (5-1). Idle until April 16; April 23 game to watch vs. Scioto Valley
11. KC Jazz (3-0). Friendlies at Nash Bash
12. Milwaukee Scylla (4-2). Gave Wisconsin a good game, beat DI Minn. Valkyries
13. Fullerton (4-1). Lost 26-5 to Tucson
14. Brandywine (6-0). Defeated Morris 41-28 in friendly
15. Buffalo (5-0). Last league game April 16

Wisconsin Spring 2016 Schedule Set

The Wisconsin Women’s Rugby spring 2016 schedule is set and quickly approaching.

Visit our Schedule page for the latest updates and match details.

The team has one final Midwest league match on April 16 on the road against the Milwaukee Scylla before Midwest playoffs begin. After an undefeated fall league season, Wisconsin is in first place at the top of the Midwest D2 West 2 league standings.

Prior to the Scylla, the team will warm up with a friendly scrimmage against the UW-Madison Women on April 2 in Madison and away at the Minnesota Valkyries (D1 friendly) on April 9.

The team is also excited to host the brand new Fond du Lac women’s team for a friendly b-side match on April 23 at the Wisconsin Rugby Sports Complex.

Playoffs begin April 30 and full details for Midwest playoffs will be shared once they are available. All competitions in playoffs are single-elimination events.

Wisconsin Wins USA Rugby 2015 D2 National Championship!

seriesThe Wisconsin Women’s Rugby team earned its first-ever USA Rugby National Championship on Sunday, June 14, with a hard-fought 38-28 victory against the Sacramento Amazons at Colorado’s Infinity Park Stadium.

Wisconsin had swept the Midwest playoffs to earn the 2015 Midwest Championship and continued the sweep at the USA Rugby East Regionals to represent the entire eastern half of the United States at the D2 national final. A perennial national qualifier and the 2014 D2 Runner-Up, Sacramento had similarly swept their competition to qualify as the country’s West champion.


Media Alert: Historic Season Sends Two Madison Rugby Teams To National Championships

JUNE 5, 2015

PDF of Media Alert

Women’s Team – Jessica Burda
608-712-1481 /
Men’s Team – Adam Thimming
315-751-9588 /

Historic Season Sends Two Madison Rugby Teams To National Championships

Local Men’s and Women’s Programs in USA Finals June 14

MADISON, WI – Success for Madison’s rugby teams has become a strong tradition in the past few years. But the 2015 season is proving to be one for the record books. Two of Madison’s local competitive adult rugby teams – the Wisconsin Rugby Club and Wisconsin Women’s Rugby – have advanced to the USA Rugby Division 2 National Championship Finals on Sunday, June 14 in Glendale, Colo.

The Women will play the Sacramento Amazons (Calif.) for the national title at 1:15 p.m. MT at Infinity Park Stadium. The Men will battle the Life West Gladiators (Hayward, Calif.) for the men’s D2 gold medal at 3:15 p.m. MT. The matches represent a possible third national title for the men following championships in 1998 and 2013, while the women look for their first.

After completing successful spring seasons in their local Midwest competitive leagues, both teams advanced to sweep the Midwest Rugby Union’s Championships May 16-17 in Lemont, Ill. Last weekend saw both teams travel to Charlotte, N.C. to compete in the USA Rugby National Quarterfinals (Round of 8) and Semifinals (Round of 4). The women defeated Burlington (Vt.) 26-15 and Augusta (Ga.) 41-12 to advance to the national final. The men knocked out New York 19-10 and Atlanta Old White (Ga.) 24-15 to earn another shot at the title.

The teams will complete team practices and preparations at the Wisconsin Rugby Sports Complex in Cottage Grove, Wis., for the next week before traveling west next Friday, June 12. Practices are open to the media for photos, video, and interviews. Please contact Jessica (608-712-1481) or Adam (315-751-9588) prior to attending practices.

PRACTICE SCHEDULE – Wisconsin Rugby Sports Complex, 4064 Vilas Rd., Cottage Grove, Wis.
Saturday, June 6 – Women, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.; Men, 10:30 – 12:00 p.m.
Monday, June 8 and Wednesday, June 10 – Women, 5:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.
Tuesday, June 9 and Thursday, June 11 – Men, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Fans of the teams can follow social media for live match updates and news.
Women – and
Men – and

USA Rugby will also be live-streaming both matches via More information on the Championships from USA Rugby can be found here –


Note: This was updated 3 p.m. on Friday, June 5 to correct the dates of practice days.