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Rugby In Florida This Season
The 2012-13 rugby season in the Sunshine State is nearly upon us, and it seems a lot of people out there are confused about exactly what changes USA Rugby is going to throw upon us, and when these changes are happening.

Posted on 9/1/2012


The 2012-13 rugby season in the Sunshine State is nearly upon us, and it seems a lot of people out there are confused about exactly what changes USA Rugby is going to throw upon us, and when these changes are happening. Luckily, I’m here to try to explain everything in a simple manner. I said ‘TRY’, so please don’t shoot the messenger! Basically, everything competition-wise will stay the same for this season, with the changes coming in 2013-14. We have plenty of time to focus on those later this season when USA Rugby will hopefully have some more information for us, so for now let’s look at 2012-13. Division One Men For the 2012-13 season, the only team that finished up in Division One last season, Boca Raton, will be dropping back down to Division Two, where they enjoyed great success in the mid 2000s. As they fulfilled their responsibility in the failed D1 experiment, they will not face any sanctions and will be eligible for postseason play this season. This obviously leaves a void in Florida when it comes to the top level of rugby in this country (please don’t mention Super League to me). To me, this is fine, as Florida survived without D1 rugby for a long time and teams from our state will continue to be a factor at the D2 level. Division Two Men Last season saw Naples have a great D2 campaign, just like Tampa Krewe did in 2010 and 2011. The Hammerheads won the South title and then traveled to Pittsburgh for the Sweet 16, where they lost a close match to Montauk. Unfortunately for Naples, they won’t be able to repeat their playoff run in 2012-13, as they refused to accept their promotion to Division One. That resulted in a fine and the punishment of not being able to qualify for the playoffs this upcoming season. They are reportedly seeking to appeal this decision, so there’s still a chance they could become eligible. Also ineligible for postseason play are Tampa Krewe, who withdrew from Division One play in the middle of last season and received a two-year ban from postseason play. So, that leaves eight teams to fight it out for two spots in the postseason: Boca Raton, Miami, Miami Tridents, Fort Lauderdale in the South Division and Jacksonville, Orlando, St. Pete Pelicans and Daytona in the North Division. Along with Naples (South) and Krewe (North), each team will play their division mates home and away, with the top four teams in each division advancing to play in four more ‘crossover’ games against teams from the other division. Following that, there will be semifinals and finals to decide which two teams advance to the postseason. Division Three Men Just like Naples, Gainesville refused their promotion (to Division Two) after reaching the D3 South title game last season, where they lost to New Orleans ‘B’. the eventual national champions. That leaves them with a fine and being ineligible for the playoffs this season. So, that means last year’s Florida D3 runners-up Brevard, St. Augustine, Palm Beach, Pasco, Sarasota, Treasure Coast and Boca Raton’s B side will compete for the two qualifying spots, with Gainesville also playing a full slate of games. Under a proposed schedule, all teams will play each other once (seven total games each), with the top four sides progressing to semifinals, the winners of which will advance to the postseason. Women It’s going to be an exciting fall in Florida for women’s rugby, as the D2 South Championships are being held in Fort Lauderdale at Central Broward Regional Park on October 13-14, and Naples RFC will be hosting the women’s national championships on the weekend of November 9-11. The two existing women’s teams in Florida – Fort Miami and Jacksonville – will both be competing that first weekend in order to advance to play in Naples. The women’s season has always been an odd one, as it ends when everyone else is getting going, and it looks like things might well stay that way in 2013-14, despite all the changes on the men’s side. Unfortunately for Florida, the women’s game has been in a bit of a decline since Orlando’s national title at the D2 level in 2008. In fact, that team doesn’t exist any more after a failed trip up to Division One. Colleges No real changes here, with Florida sides continuing to play in three divisions. UF stay in the SEC, while FAU, UCF, USF and FSU spend their second season in the SIRC’s South Division. That leaves the smaller schools -- Ave Maria, Eckerd, Florida Gulf Coast, FIU, UNF and UM -- in the NSCRO. Schools will start matrix play in the spring, after they have played a Florida Cup season in the fall. High School We are still awaiting official word on which teams will compete in the spring, but it looks like Jupiter High School, who have been a factor pretty much every year in the FYRU competition, will be taking 2013 off. Also yet to make their minds up are programs like Estero and Deltona, who lost to Miami at the semifinal stage last season. It appears the strength of the high school program remains in Southeast Florida, where Miami, Weston and the Trojans are all expected to field strong teams yet again in 2013 as they try to knock off defending state champs and perennial contenders, Naples.

Code updated: 02/07/2018 13:04

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