The World's Largest College Rugby Festival Returns to Philadelphia This Weekend With the 2017 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship at Talen Energy Stadium

eatured event is the 24-team Men's Rugby 7s Field for the National College Championship and the Pete Dawkins Trophy

The 2017 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship returns this weekend  to Philadelphia and Talen Energy Stadium for the seventh consecutive year, bringing national and International attention to the Philadelphia region through the live broadcasts on the networks of NBC Sports. 

The two-day rugby festival, on Saturday, June 3rd and Sunday, June 4th,  is one of the largest gatherings of collegiate and high school rugby teams in the world, with over 30,000 fans anticipated to be in attendance. Penn Mutual is in the third year of a title sponsorship for the event, and NBC Sports once again returns as both broadcaster and event partner.

The featured event at the 2017 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship is the 24-team field of the nation’s top men’s collegiate Rugby 7s squads competing for the national championship title and the Pete Dawkins Trophy.  The trophy is named after the All-American football standout at West Point who won the Heisman Trophy in 1958.  Dawkins was a Rhodes Scholar and attended Oxford, where he used his outstanding football skills to make him a star on the Oxford Varsity rugby team, revolutionizing the game in the process.

At the top of that field is four-time defending champion University of California, returning to the pitch on which they have won the Pete Dawkins Trophy in an unprecedented show of dominance.  Men’s collegiate rugby sevens squads from American International, Arizona, Arkansas State, Army, Boston College, Clemson, Dartmouth, Indiana University, Life University, Lindenwood, Navy, University of Notre Dame, South Carolina, St. Mary’s College (Moraga, California), Tennessee, UCLA, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin, as well as Philadelphia-area favorites Delaware, Kutztown, Penn State, Saint Joseph’s and Temple have all earned a spot in the 2017 championship field. 

The 16-team field in the women’s competition is led by defending women’s champion Life University, which captured the crown last June with a 19-10 victory over Lindenwood University.  Lindenwood also returns for the 2017 competition, along with three-time champion and Philadelphia-area favorite Penn State, which won the title in 2013, 2014 and 2015. They are joined by the women’s Rugby 7s teams from Bloomsburg, Clemson, Dartmouth, Delaware, Drexel, Indiana, Kutztown, Navy, Notre Dame, North Carolina, UNC-Wilmington, Temple and the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) Selects squad, an all-star team chosen from the best of the NSCRO’s sevens teams. 

Six up-and-coming collegiate men’s Rugby 7s squads will compete in the College Challenge bracket. Represented in the six-team bracket are Philadelphia-region favorites Villanova University, West Chester University, Drexel University and Rowan University, Mount St. Mary’s (from Emmitsburg, Maryland) and Fordham University (Bronx, New York).  The six-team competition gives burgeoning men’s college Rugby Sevens programs the opportunity to qualify for the main men’s Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship field in the following year.  At the 2016 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, the University of Delaware Blue Hens defeated Mount St. Mary’s, 36-10, to earn a place in this year’s 24-team Penn Mutual Collegiate Championship bracket.

Two-time defending champion New Mexico Highlands University leads the eight-team field in the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) National Championship.   The Vatos, out of Las Vegas, New Mexico, won the 2016 NSCRO National Championship in men’s rugby sevens last summer with a 31-7 victory of St. Mary’s College of Maryland (St. Mary’s City, Maryland).  New Mexico Highlands and St. Mary’s return to the pitch this June 3rd and 4th, along with the men’s sevens squads from Babson College (Wellesley, MA), Colby College (Waterville, ME), Christendom College (Front Royal, Virginia), Duke University (Durham, NC), Solano Community College (Fairfield, California), and the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point.  The NSCRO National Championship field of eight was determined through eight qualifier tournaments conducted around the country this spring. Previous NSCRO National Champions include Occidental College (2013) and New England College (2014).

The “World’s Largest Rugby Festival” also includes the nation’s largest high school tournament over three dozen of the nation’s top boys and girls high school and club rugby 7s teams representing 10 states including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

Media credential requests for the upcoming 2017 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, the world’s largest collegiate rugby festival, are now being accepted online at  Qualified members of the news media should submit their application in advance of this year’s competition.  Applications will be reviewed before approval is granted, and notification of that approval will be sent via e-mail to each qualified media applicant.   Credentials will be available for pick up prior to the 2017 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship beginning Thursday, June 1st, and will be available for pick up at Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday, June 3rd and Sunday, June 4th.

Live national television coverage of the quest for the Pete Dawkins Trophy, as well as selected additional games, will be carried on the networks of NBC Sports, including NBC Sports Network and NBC, on Saturday, June 3rd and Sunday, June 4th.

Outside Talen Energy Stadium there will be a full Rugby Festival featuring local food and beverage specialties, shops, and activities for fans and families, as well as two full days of a music festival featuring bands from Philadelphia’s Let There Be Rock School.  There will also be sports activities and demonstrations including the Sports Testing Combine, and the Fan Fest itself is “powered by Dunkin.”

Related activities during the week of the 2017 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship include an official “Welcome to Philadelphia” party for all the men’s college teams at the Reading Terminal Market on Wednesday, May 31st at 6:30 p.m., and a VIP reception at The Down Town Club (600 Chestnut Street) on Thursday, June 1st at 6 p.m. 

The Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship has partnered with HBC Event Services to offer special hotel services, including booking of rooms, for those attending this year’s event.  Alumni, family and fans of the competing college men’s and women’s rugby 7s programs, as well as family and friends of the competing boys and girls high school teams and alumni of the competing schools can book hotel accommodations and ground transportation at

Reserved and Field Level tickets are available online at  Single day reserved tickets are $80 and field level tickets are $56, and full weekend reserved tickets are $117 and field level tickets are $70.

About United World Sports:  

United World Sports (UWS) is the largest commercial rugby entity in the United States, and the owner and operator of a growing portfolio of dynamic sports, media and apparel brands including, the USA Sevens Rugby international tournament, the largest professional rugby event in North America; the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, the premier college 7s rugby championship; and the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Championship, the 15s-national rugby championship. Through its apparel division, UWS owns the exclusive North and South American license for Rhino Rugby, one of the world's leading rugby apparel and equipment brands. UWS also owns and operates, the largest and most widely read media destination dedicated to American rugby. For more information about UWS and its properties, visit:

About the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company:  

Since its founding in 1847, Penn Mutual has been driven by its purpose to empower people to live life with confidence. At the heart of this purpose is the belief that purchasing life insurance is the most protective, responsible and rewarding action a person can take, and is central to a sound financial plan. The company is committed to helping individuals, families and small businesses unlock life's possibilities through life insurance and annuity solutions. This is accomplished through a national network of more than 5,000 financial professionals, who help clients make great things possible. Penn Mutual supports its field representatives with brokerage services through Hornor, Townsend & Kent, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor and wholly owned subsidiary. Member FINRA/SIPC. Visit Penn Mutual on the Internet at

About NBC Sports Group:  

When the Comcast-NBCUniversal transaction was completed in January 2011, the sports assets of the two companies combined to form NBC Sports Group, which serves sports fans 24/7 with premier live events, insightful studio shows, and compelling original programming. The sports media company consists of a unique array of broadcast television, cable television, radio and digital sports assets, including NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, NBCSN (NBC Sports Network), Golf Channel, 11 NBC Sports Regional Networks, NBC Sports Radio and NBC Sports Digital. 

Media Contacts:

Joe Favorito,, (201) 746-0005

Jim DeLorenzo,, (215) 266-5943

Source: Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship

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