Rugby Super League (United States)
|No. of teams||8|
|Last champion(s)||New York Athletic Club (2012)|
The USA Rugby Super League, usually known as the Super League, is a defunct national rugby union competition which ran from 1997 to 2012. It was contested by eight clubs in the United States, and was replaced by the USA Rugby Elite Cup for the 2013 season. The competition was sanctioned by USA Rugby, the sport's national governing body, and was the premier level of rugby union in the country until it was reformatted into the Elite Cup.
The USA Super League was created by the management of 14 of the best rugby organizations in the US. The goal was to create a high level, national rugby competition in the United States. The competition was contested annually startiong in 2007. The largest number of clubs to have competed in the league was 18, in 2007 and 2008. In the 2011 season, the 11 teams were divided into two conferences, Red and Blue. The 2012 season had 9 teams, again divided into Red and Blue conferences. Most of remaining teams after the final Rugby Super League season in 2012, entered the USA Rugby Elite Cup competition.
Seasons 1997 to 2000
The Rugby Super League was created at a time when there was a need for expansion of the highest level of competitive rugby in the country. 1997 was subsequently the inaugural season of the competition. There were 14 teams competing, which were divided into two seven-team divisions, the Western-Pacific Conference and the Midwestern-East Conference.
The original competing sides in the 1997 season were; Belmont Shore RFC, the Chicago Lions, the Dallas Harlequins, the Denver Barbarians, the Gentlemen of Aspen, the Kansas City Blues, Life, Old Blue, Old Puget Sound Beach RFC, Old Mission Beach Athletic Club RFC, the Potomac Athletic Club RFC, Old Blues Rugby Club (CA), Golden Gate Rugby Club and Washington RFC. Aspen won the first championship, defeating Old Blue 22 points to eight in the final which was played in San Diego.
The following season in 1998, two more sides gained entry into the competition, Boston RFC and the Philadelphia Whitemarsh RFC. Both teams joined the eastern conference, which saw the Harlequins move to the Western conference. This expansion saw two fifteen-team conferences.
Seasons 2001 to 2007
In 2001 the competition became recognized as the premier club rugby union competition in the United States - becoming separated from USA Rugby Division 1. In 2002, the league expanded again, with the inclusion of New York Athletic Club, who gained entry through means of promotion and the Hayward Rugby, who formed a merger with the Old Blues Rugby Club (CA).
The 2002 season saw major changes to the competition, with the "east and west divisions" format being dissolved to form a national competition. The format reverted to the division-associated fixtures in 2005. Super League celebrated a decade of competition in 2006, with OMBAC defeating Belmont Shore 36 to 33 in the final which was held in Santa Clara, California. It was announced after the 2006 season that the Rugby Super League would be expanding from 15 teams to 18 for the 2007 season. Santa Monica Rugby accepted an invitation to join Super League, as did the Boston Irish Wolfhounds, who also finished runner-up in both Divisions I and III in 2006. The Chicago Griffins also joined to replace the Kansas City Blues, who self-relegated their club to the USA Rugby Division I men's club competition.
Seasons 2008 to 2012
A major event took place in the 2008 season, with the live broadcast on ESPN Classic of the RSL Final between NYAC and Belmont Shore. It was an extremely hard fought match that saw NYAC winning 31-28 in sudden death. The league featured 16 teams in two conferences in 2009. Philadelphia Whitemarsh, Washington RFC, and the St. Louis Bombers did not return to the competition, while Life University returned after a six-season absence.
Because of the ongoing economic crisis, before the 2010 season longtime RSL powers Belmont Shore decided to only compete in Southern California's Division I competition. In response to this, Santa Monica also decided to self-relegate. Because of the uneven conferences, Dallas was shifted to the Red (West) Conference and no new teams were added, dropping the number to 14. In August 2010 the Boston Irish Wolfhounds also relegated themselves. In the fall of 2011, PAC Rugby withdrew from the competition and the Utah Warriors, based in Salt Lake City, entered the competition. The Chicago Lions and Utah Warriors withdrew prior to the 2012 season. The Chicago Griffins announced their withdrawal following the 2012 season.
Demise and relaunch as Elite Cup
|Denver Barbarians||Littleton, CO||Shea Stadium||1997||Jason Kelly|
|Old Puget Sound Beach||Seattle, WA||Magnuson Park||1997||Evan Haigh|
|San Francisco Golden Gate||San Francisco, CA||Rocca Field||1997||Paul Keeler|
|Boston RFC||Boston, MA||Franklin Park||1998||Eugene Mountjoy|
|Dallas Harlequins||Dallas, TX||Glencoe Park||1997||Michael Engelbrecht|
|Life University Running Eagles||Marietta, GA||International Sports Complex||1997; 2009 (re-joined)||James Isaacson|
|New York Athletic Club||Travers Island, NY||Travers Island||2002||Mike Tolkin|
|Old Blue||New York City, NY||Pier 40||1997||Marty Veale|
Results by club
|Team||Winners||Runners-up||Years won||Years losing finalist|
|Belmont Shore||4||5||1998, 2003, 2004, 2007||1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008|
|NYAC||4||0||2005, 2008, 2010,2012|
|Aspen||3||1||1997, 2001, 2002||2000|
|San Francisco Golden Gate||2||2||2009, 2011||2004, 2010|
|Old Blue||0||2||1997, 1998|
|Old Puget Sound Beach||0||1||2012|
- Rugby union in the United States
- USA Rugby
- Americas Rugby Championship
- North America 4, predecessor to the ARC
- United States national rugby union team
- "About Rugby Super League". usarugbysuperleague.com. Retrieved 31 August 2006.
- Thisisamercanrugby.com. "Rugby Super League President Discusses Elite Cup". Thisisamercanrugby.com.
- "Boston Irish Wolfhounds To Join USA Rugby Super League". rugby-rugby.com. Retrieved 31 August 2006.
- "The Fallout From The Elite Cup Demise - What Next For D1". Last word on sports. 19 January 2014.
- "USA Rugby SuperLeague - Overview". usarugbysuperleague.com. Retrieved 31 August 2008.