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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Central Washington & Serevi Rugby Form Partnership

Fresh on the heels of gaining varsity status Central Washington University has made another step in securing their long-term success by entering into a three year partnership with Serevi Rugby. A part of the partnership Serevi will provide on the field coaching and recruitment support. Serevi coaches will work with both the Wildcats 15s and 7s teams and will help identify and refer talent to CWU. Serevi will also help with off the field analysis of CWU games and specific technical aspects of training.

"I am excited for this opportunity," expressed CWU director of rugby and men's head coach Tony Pacheco to TIAR. "We get to have coaches with an abundance of rugby knowledge on our campus. I envision our student athletes getting the additional specialized coaching they need to help us achieve our team and individual goals."

Take the jump to read more.

The partnership is a logical one for both partners. Central Washington is the dominant rugby power in the Pacific Northwest. Based roughly two hours outside of Seattle in Ellensburg, the Wildcats have played matches in Seattle when the weather is bad in Ellensburg. That closeness as resulted in strong connections between Central Washington and the rugby community in Seattle, of which Serevi is a major part. Many CWU players have gone on to play for Seattle-OPSB after graduating while others have played with the club during the summer 7s season. Kellen Gordon is an example of someone who has made that jump and is now a Serevi employee.

Pacheco noted that Central Washington has always had a strong relationship with Serevi in the past but when CEO Ross Young came aboard the partnership began to come into greater focus. In terms of the overall partnership, Pacheco wants use Serevi Rugby's "wide range of coaching to improve our play, develop national team caliber athletes and compete for national championships." He went on to add that "we are always trying to enhance the student-athlete experience for our men and women. This partnership will allow us to do that."

Young also sees positives in the partnership. “Given the strong foundation of rugby already in place at Central Washington, we believe our coaches and skill-building techniques can take their program to the next level to compete with any university in the country. As we help to continue the upward momentum of CWU’s rugby program, we also want to build the base of those interested in the game, so more crossover athletes are exposed and see the opportunities rugby can provide to them.”

In addition to help on the field and with the technical aspects off the field, the partnership will also see Serevi Rugby and CWU hold residence camps for youth players on campus during the summer. It will also see assistant coaches go through short-term observation and practical internships with the USA Rugby Academy powered by Serevi, "Serevi Selects," and Seattle-OPSB. Former Eagle Pate Tuilevuka will lead the Serevi coaching team working with CWU.

The Wildcats will once again play in the Varsity Cup as they take on Utah in the Western Super Regional this Saturday. They were a last minute inclusion last year where they beat Air Force before losing to eventual champion BYU. The team rolled through the Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference this last season winning the title over Oregon.


  1. TIAR (or anyone)- do you know if CWU will be offering scholarships to players next year since they are going varsity.
    from a player trying to pick a great school and team to attend next year

  2. The rich get richer... actually might have a positive effect on other NW schools as CWU is now turning away a lot of NW talent (replacing them with national talent).

    1. Honestly, how is this not a violation of some rule? I just keep seeing this through an NCAA-type lens and thinking this is would be never hold up as a legitimate practice for any college sport.

    2. Mmmmmm because College Rugby is barely regulated?

    3. Very true, but all the more reason to question this practice because it could be a future road block to NCAA sanctioning.

  3. What is at all wrong with this sort of partnership. I'm pretty sure many college varsity coaches network with Pro coaches and teams, to build their coaching pathways. I'm sure they do the same with people that hold HS coaching camps and almost all football teams hold HS camps for recruiting. I'm sure it will benefit both these organizations, nothing illegal about networking and helping each other out. Don't get mad get better, I thought why didn't I think of that when I saw Colorado partnering with a national camp company to hold a Rugby camp, I'm at Colorado State, I didn't get mad, I just said we need to do that and get better and we're working on a partnership like this one, It's great to see organizations all across the nation improving rugby quality and quantity. The national team will see benefit down the road.

    1. I'm not mad, but I do question the practice as this goes beyond simply networking. You are right that there is nothing illegal about this because there is no one says what the rules are as Matt Hudson pointed out.

      Curtis Reed mentioned that one thing that could make rugby bloom is NCAA sanctioning. Regardless of how you see the NCAA on a personal level, their approval creates instant acceptance and credibility to our sport. With that in mind, you have to take the good with the bad, and in this case, rules around outside organizations having influence over recruits to a particular institution.

      I agree that it is great to see people working to improve the quality of rugby in the US. I also feel that we need to be careful this type of situation, especially now that CWU is a varsity program.