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New England College adds varsity women's rugby; to join NIRA in 2019

New England College adds varsity women's rugby; to join NIRA in 2019

HENNIKER, N.H. -- Lou Izzi, Director of Athletics at New England College, is pleased to announce the addition of varsity women's rugby as the school's ninth women's sport offering. The women's rugby team will begin competition in the fall of 2019, and a national search for the program's first full time head coach will begin immediately.

 "Collegiate women's rugby is a fast-growing sport that will provide more opportunities for female student-athletes at NEC to experience the competitiveness of Division III athletics," said Izzi. "This is a very exciting time for New England College, as rugby will be the second women's sport added in a three-year period."

Izzi added, "The addition of women's volleyball in 2017 was highly successful and the team is strongly supported by our campus community.  We believe women's rugby will provide similar possibilities while allowing us to expand our athletics recruiting efforts nationally."

The Pilgrims will compete as members of the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association. Other member schools include Norwich, Bowdoin, Castleton, Colby-Sawyer, and the University of New England.

"We are excited to accept New England College into the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association, beginning with the Fall 2019 season," commented Curt Smyth, Director of Athletics at the University of New England and President of the NIRA Executive Committee. "This enhances the growth of women's rugby and will provide additional competition opportunities for our membership."

(release courtesy New England College Sports Information)