Wintergreens Summer of Rugby in the USA
By: Colton Strickler
Summer in the United States may not officially begin until Tuesday, June 21, but for most people Memorial Day weekend is when summer makes its first appearance.
While others were embarking on their first camping trips of the summer, heading to nearest body of water, or utilizing their pools for the first time in 2022, Wintergreen was taking in North America’s largest-ever college rugby tournament in New Orleans, Louisiana.
National Collegiate Rugby’s 2022 Collegiate Rugby Championship saw 111 collegiate rugby sevens teams - 84 mens teams and 27 womens teams - across six different divisions descend upon the Crescent City for the first time since 2019 as COVID forced the cancellation of the previous two tournaments.
Taking place at the Shrine on Airline, home of Major League Rugby’s NOLA Gold, and the fields that surround it, the 300-match tournament kicked off on Saturday, May 28 and wrapped up in the evening of Monday, May 30.
When the hot Louisiana sun finally set on Monday evening, the Kutztown Golden Bears defeated Dartmouth to claim their first-ever Collegiate Rugby Championship in the Men’s Premier division.
The remainder of the results of the Men’s Finals were as follows:
Sunday evening saw the women’s side of the bracket come to a close. Lindenwood defeated Life 19-7 to claim their fourth-straight College Rugby Championship in the Women’s Premier division. Roger Williams Univerity beat the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire to secure the Women’s DI club National Championship earlier on in the evening.
With a tent just a few meters away from the pitch inside the Shrine on Airline, Wintergreen had a front row seat to all of the action. Players looking for a way to win their recovery throughout the long weekend of matches were able to swing by the tent to grab Wintergreen products, towels, and guides.
Wintergreen was back on the road a few weeks later, making stops in various cities across the United States while also continuing the Prepare to Win Coaches Clinic with the L.A. Giltinis before the conclusion of their season.
The trip ended at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey to watch Rugby New York take on the two-time Major League Rugby Champion Seattle Seawolves in the 2022 MLR Championship Final.
After a hot start by the Seawolves, Rugby New York settled into their game and built up a 19-8 halftime lead. New York continued to apply the pressure and never really let the Seawolves build up any momentum in the second half.
They handed the Seawolves their first postseason loss in club history, defeating the two-time champions 30-15 to secure their first Major League Rugby Championship Shield.
The first month of Wintergreen’s Summer of Rugby was a busy one, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. You’ll wee Wintergreen represented at the USA Rugby matches against the French Barbarians in Houston and the Rugby World Cup qualifier against Chile at Infinity Park on July 16. The summer will wrap up with the RugbyTown Sevens in August.