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Rugby in Florida overview. Season 2014-15
This article is an attempt to present an overview of how rugby in Florida is currently organized. In this version Sevens is not covered. It may contain some errors or inaccurate information, --my apologies for that--. It is a work in progress. I will post a revised version once I get some feedback, which would be very much appreciated. Please send any comments to [email protected]

Posted on 1/16/2015 1:02:30 AM



Senior Men

Senior men’s rugby is run by the Florida Rugby Union (FRU). The teams are divided into Division II & Divison III teams.

Currently, 8 teams compete in Division II, and 9 teams in Division III. Division II teams also play an official B-side championship (Orange Cup) comprised of 6 teams. Division III teams may play B-side games, but are always considered friendlies.

The current champions are Miami Rugby FC in Division II, and Gainesville Hogs RFC in Division III.

The top four teams at the end of the regular season in each division will play for the state title, with the two finalists in each division advancing to the USA Rugby playoffs. The last time a Florida men’s team reached a USA Rugby Final and won was Tampa Bay Krewe (Division II) back in 2010. In 2011 they reached the final again but lost.

2014/15 Division II teams

  • Boca Raton Buccaneers
  • Fort Lauderdale Knights
  • Jacksonville Rugby
  • Tampa Bay Krewe
  • Miami RFC
  • Miami Tridents
  • Naples Hammerheads
  • Orlando Griffins

2014/15 Division II B Side teams

  • Boca Raton ‘B’
  • Fort Lauderdale 'B'
  • Miami 'B'
  • Miami Tridents 'B'
  • Naples 'B'
  • Orlando 'B'

2014/15 Division III teams

  • Bay Area Pelicans (St. Petersburg)
  • Brevard Old Red Eye RFC (Cocoa Beach)
  • Daytona Beach Coconuts
  • Gainesville Hogs
  • Indian River (Vero Beach)
  • Palm Beach Panthers (West Palm Beach)
  • Sarasota Surge, Bradenton
  • Tallahassee Conquistadors
  • Tampa Krewe D3

Social teams

  • Key West (Does not compete in any championship)

There are around 800 players registered in this category.

The Florida Finals will be played on April 25th for both divisions.

Senior Women

Senior women are run by the FRU. We have 3 teams competing in Division II: Fort Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville.

Tampa Bay Krewe and Indian River have active teams, but are not competing in the championship.

Current champions are Fort Miami.

There are around 130 players registered in this category.

Old Boys

Old boys is a fairly loose category. No championships or tournaments are established and none of the existing teams seem to have a regular activity. Typically, teams get assembled when a game is to take place. A few teams get to play once or twice a year like the Key Biscayne Osotes, a team comprised of mostly players related to the Key Biscayne Rugby Rats youth program, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Rugby, St. Pete Pelicans.

College Men

The college men’s teams play under FRU or in combination with SIRC in the fall and under a College Conference (SIRC, NSCRO) in the Spring for the most part. We have around 15 college teams.

  • Ave Maria University
  • Eckerd College, St. Petersburg
  • Florida Atlantic University (FAU), Boca Raton
  • Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), Fort Myers
  • Florida International University (FIU), Miami
  • Florida State University (FSU), Tallahassee
  • Florida Tech, Melbourne (founded 2014)
  • University of Central Florida (UCF), Orlando (current DI-AA USA Rugby National Champions)
  • University of Florida (UF), Gainesville
  • University of Miami (UM)
  • University of North Florida (UNF), Jacksonville
  • University of South Florida (USF), Tampa

During the fall, some teams play in the Florida Cup, which was won this season by Florida International University. Due to a lot of disruptions in the schedule, no playoffs were held. FIU ended up with the most points.

The University of Florida played under the Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Conference (SCRC) with teams from neighboring states with a 4-2 record.
The remaining teams did not participate in any fall championship, playing some friendly games during the fall.

During the spring, five teams play under National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO): Ave Maria, Eckerd, Florida Gulf Coast, University of Miami and University of North Florida. (Schedule)

Five other teams play under the South Independent Rugby Conference (SIRC): Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, Florida State University, University of Central Florida (current champion) and University of South Florida. This year the season was stretched between the fall and spring (SIRC teams playing for the Florida Cup also did so for SIRC). At this time the Championship is due to resume in February. Currently UCF leads the tournament. (Schedule)

UCF has advanced to the National Finals the past two years and won both times, under the DI-AA College Division.

College teams also participate in various sevens tournaments, but that will not be covered here.

There are around 500 players registered in this category.

College Women

We have 9 College Women teams. Two of them play in Division I, and the rest in Division II.

During the fall, they had a short season that was played as “Florida Cup”, but with no playoff system in place and there was not a champion. A few of the teams tradionally show up at All Florida Day. Last year, UCF was the winner of the category, beating FIU in the final.

During the Spring Season, UF, UCF and FSU play in the Southern Independent Rugby Conference (SIRC-Women) Division I.

FAU, UM, USF, FGCU, Eckerd and FIU play under FRU in Division II. Last year, FIU advanced all the way to the finals in California, but did not win any games. (Schedule)

There are around 300 players registered in this category.

High School Boys

This division is run by the Florida Youth Rugby Union.

The High School category is fairly new to the state, as it started in 2005. Over the years, it has been organized in various ways, trying to accommodate the different levels of play of the teams and their location.

The Naples Bears have been a predominant force for the past few years and are the current champions.

Between last season and this one, 8 teams have been added to this division. This has resulted in a very interesting season with 15 teams competing for the High School Championship, divided in four geographical zones. Each team will be playing 10 games during the regular season. The season goes from mid January to the end of April, and is run by the FRYU.

For the past two years, no national qualifying USA Rugby championship has been in place. Instead an invitational tournament is played at the end of the season. Orlando Rugby represented Florida last year, which resulted in the absence of a final for this division as Orlando was one of the finalists and was travelling at the time.

The teams partipating this year are:

  • Boca Raton (Boca Raton)
  • Cape Pirates (Cocoa Beach)
  • Cardinal Gibbons HS (Fort Lauderdale)
  • Daytona (Daytona Beach)
  • Jacksonville (Jacksonville)
  • Jupiter Sharks (Jupiter)
  • Key Biscayne Rats (Key Biscayne)
  • Mavericks RFC (Southwest Ranches)
  • Miami Rugby (Miami)
  • Naples Bears (Naples)
  • Okapi Wanderers (Weston, JV only)
  • Orlando (Orlando)
  • Palm Beach Punishers (Palm Beach Gardens, merged with Jupiter Sharks)
  • Riviera Beach Maritime Academy (Riviera Beach)
  • St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, also has a JV team)
  • Tampa Bay Krewe (Tampa)
  • Trojans (Coral Springs)
  • Weston (Weston)

Finals will be played on April 25th.

There are around 450 players registered in this category.

High School Girls

After a few years of not having a regular competition, the HS Girls will play the FRYU Varsity High School Championship between the following teams:

  • Boca Raton (Boca Raton)
  • Naples *(Naples)
  • Riviera Beach Maritime Academy (Riviera Beach)
  • Sebastian River (San Sebastian)

Sebastian River HS has full varsity status, one of one a handful of schools across the United States. 

There are around 70 players registered in this category. More info on RugbyFL.com.


Youth rugby (pre-High School) has not been around for too long but has been growing steadily since 2009. Currently, the following clubs have youth divisions, in some cases as part of a club or under the sponsorship or a club, in other cases as stand-alone programs.

  • Boca Raton (Boca Raton)
  • Key Biscayne Rats (Key Biscayne)
  • Miami Rugby (Miami)
  • Okapi Wanderers (Weston)
  • Wellington Wizards (Wellington, Palm Beach)
  • West Pines (Pembroke Pines)
  • Weston (Weston)
  • Broward (Pompano Beach)

For some reason, youth rugby has been mostly developed in southeast Florida. The existing categories are U8, U10, U12 and U14. Sarasota RFC has started a program for youth but is not currently competing.

This season they will mostly be playing during the “Youth Rugby Day” tournaments, one hosted by each of the clubs.

There are around 200 players registered in this category. More info on RugbyFL.com.

Select sides and High Performance Programs

There are several select side or high performance programs in the State and some that include other states.

The Florida High Performance Program is a select side that includes all players from teams that are members of the FRU. This is the first program of this type that has been implemented in he past few years.

At the High School level, we have the Florida Juice All Star Program. This is a result of the merger between the FRYU High Performance Program and a private initiative (Florida Juice) that has been developing select side teams for a few years.

At a more regional level, we have a pretty solid program for Men and U19s from the USA Rugby South Panthers. They participate in regional championships under the NACRA umbrella, which includes most of the Caribbean nations along with USA, Canada and Mexico. (The USA and Canada National Sides do not participate in NACRA copetitions. The USAR South Panthers represent the USA in these tournaments). At the U19 level, this year’s week-long tournament will be played in July at Florida International University in Miami.


Apart from the sevens tournaments played in the summer, we have three tournaments during the season. All Florida Day, Indian River 10s and the Fort Lauderdale Ruggerfest which is the oldest tournament (current edition is the 39th).

All-Florida Day

The Florida Rugby Union organizes this tournament that takes place in mid october and is aimed at gathering all Florida teams, mostly Senior Men and Women and College teams. For most teams a good opportunity to get players minutes on the field and check out the acompetition. College teams typically play a couple of their league games here.
This past tournament was held in Clermont, FL. Men’s bracket was won by Fort Lauderdale (Tampa Krewe was runner-up) and UCF beat FIU in the final for the Women’s bracket. We also had some short high school games this year.

Fort Lauderdale Ruggerfest

The Fort Lauderdale Ruggerfest organized by the Fort Lauderdale RFC, takes place on the third weekend of February and has been running for 38 editions, At this 2 day tournament, several categories are played (Men’s premiere, Men’s Club, Women, Old Boys, Touch, Youth and typically a High School game between North and South All Star teams.
The premiere division is pretty much the only chance we have in Florida to see higher level teams than the ones we have locally. This year, the premiere teams are particulary interesting as we have a Division 1 team from Argentina (Asociacion Alumni), the Running Eagles from Life University, the Golden Eagles (ex-USA Eagles over 30), and a few more.
This year the tournament will take place February 21/22 at Mills Pond Park in Fort Lauderdale
Definitely a tournament you don’t want to miss, as a player or spectator.

Indian Rivers Turkey 10s

Indian River Rugby has organized this tournament for the past two years. Takes place in November and is the only tournament played in the 10s format.


Code updated: 02/07/2018 13:04

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