CLAYTON, North Carolina – The Clayton Rugby Football Club is proud to announce that they have entered into a formal partnership agreement with East Carolina University Rugby Club. The partnership agreement is the culmination of a relationship that has progressed over the past few years. The partnership provides a platform for the ECU to make use of resources, provided by the Clayton RFC, to help build on the strong rugby tradition at the university. It also creates post-collegiate opportunities for ECU grads to continue their playing careers with one of the fastest growing clubs in the United States.
“We’re excited to grow our relationship with ECU Rugby,” said Clayton RFC President Ted Hardy. “From the very early days of our club we’ve had great interactions with ECU Rugby and it has continued to grow from there. We’re honored that they are interested in formalizing our relationship and we’re looking forward to working with them even more closely in the future.”
The partnership provides a number of benefits to ECU Rugby including equipment donations, coaching and player development opportunities, and administrative support among many other items. As the partnership develops, more new initiatives are planned to come on line that are aimed at supporting and promoting ECU Rugby to High School players looking to play at the collegiate level. With the new Clayton Rugby Park soon to break ground and expected to open in mid-2018, the Clayton RFC hopes to arrange some collegiate showcase matches at the facility to put ECU Rugby in the spotlight for local players and fans.
“We here at East Carolina Rugby are proud to have a formal partnership with the Clayton Bootleggers,” said ECU Rugby President Austin Rabah. “For the last few years both our clubs strive to grow the game of rugby in our areas. With this partnership I believe that both our clubs will reach new heights.”
In recent years, multiple ECU grads have taken the pitch for the Bootleggers. A trend that both clubs hope to see continue and grow in the future. One of which is the active Recruiting Director for the Clayton RFC Gareth Davies.
“This is a great opportunity for both of our clubs to build and grow together,” added Davies. “Our top priority is helping ECU in any way that we can. If we end up with more ECU grads coming to play rugby in Clayton, that’s a bonus.”
Founded in 1975, East Carolina University Rugby is a Division II Collegiate Rugby program that plays in the Southern Rugby Conference and boasts a rich history. In recent years, the club has been to nationals in both XVs and 7s with their most recent trip being to the 7s Nationals in 2015.
The Clayton Rugby Football Club currently offers three teams with a fourth in development. Founded in 2013 and having played their first game in mid-2014, the club has grown quickly with a focus on a family friendly and community driven culture. The club currently fields the following teams: Competitive (D3), Social/Developmental (D4), Old Boys (Over 35), and they are in the process of developing a U20 program for recent High School graduates. The teams are about to begin pre-season training to prepare for the 2017/2018 playing season. New players are welcome at any time during the season. No experience is needed.