WHAT IS EPRU?
About the EPRU
The Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union, Inc. (EPRU) is organized under the auspices of USA Rugby and is operated exclusively to promote and foster the growth of Rugby Union Football and to educate the public and players in the game of Rugby Union Football as played under the Laws of the International Rugby Board (now called World Rugby).
The EPRU is comprised of clubs and colleges in Eastern & Central Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware and is one of the largest Geographical Unions in the nation with over 2,500 members. Some of the country’s most successful coaching, refereeing and medical clinics are organized and conducted by the EPRU. International coaches, U.S. national team coaches, top grade referees and some of the world’s best rugby administrators have participated in these highly successful services to the rugby community. The EPRU was the first Local Area Union to hold Level I & Level II Coaching Certification programs.
The Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union, Inc. will have concurrent jurisdiction over its members in all matters of a local nature pertaining to the administration of rugby activities to include, but not limited to, local scheduling, discipline, and related matters.
The Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union (EPRU) was founded in the late 1960’s as an outgrowth of the Pennsylvania All State XV and the Southeast Pennsylvania Select Side. The EPRU joined the Eastern Rugby Union (ERU) in 1972 which subsequently became USA Rugby East (USARE). In 1994 the EPRU joined the newly-formed Mid-Atlantic Rugby Football Union. As of September 1, 2013, the EPRU will be one of the newly-formed Georgraphic Unions under USA Rugby.
In November of 1971 the EPRU officially became incorporated by officers Fred Bullock, Peter Heaton, John Sharpe, Carl D. Buchholz III and Ben Spillard. From those beginnings the EPRU has developed into one of the strongest and most efficiently administered subunions in the United States.
The first EPRU Select Side match was played in April 1969 against the Metropolitan New York Rugby Union. The EPRU won 16 to 3 and began over two decades of championship quality play. In April 1983, the first EPRU School Boy Select Side defeated the Potomac School Boys. Fourteen years later the first girls high school team formed in the EPRU (Doylestown) defeated the Lake Braddock (Fairfax, VA) H. S. Girls by a score of 10-0.
The Union’s history has produced a unique nickname, “The Host of the East Coast,” beginning with the hosting of the 1976 United States Bicentennial Rugby Festival featuring clubs from Great Britain and the United States. Virtually continuously since then the EPRU has hosted many events.
EPRU Hosted Events
- ERU Mid-Atlantic Championships
- ERU Club Championships 1982-89
- ERU Collegiate & Women’s Championships 1982-84
- ERU Graduate School Championships 1983-94
- ERU Second Division Championships 1985-89
- ERU Northern Trials 1980-88
- USARE Northern All-Star Championship 1991-94
- USARE High School Championship 1993-95
- USARE Div. II Men’s Collegiate Championship 1993, 94
- USARE Women’s Collegiate Championship 1994, 95
- USARFU Natl. High School Championship May 1992
- USARFU Natl. Women’s Collegiate Championship May 1995
- USARFU Natl. All-Star 7s Championship Aug.1995
- USARFU Club Administrator’s Conference June 1996
- USARFU Coaching Conference & Bd. of Dirs. Mtg. June 1996
- USARFU National Club 7s Championship 1996-2002
- National Invitational Women’s All-Star 7s Champ 1996-99
- MARFU Men’s & Wm’s Collegiate Div I Champ Nov. 1996
- National Collegiate Div. II Rugby Classic May 1997
- East Coast College Div. II Women’s Championship May 1997
- MARFU Men’s & Wm’s Coll. Div. I Champ Nov. 1998
- MARFU Men’s & Wm’s Coll. Div. II Champ Nov. 1998
- MARFU Men’s Club Div II & III Championships May 1999
The EPRU has hosted numerous sides at the club level and fondly remembers May 1977 as the time the EPRU Select Side was the only team to defeat Pontypool RFC during the Welsh side’s East Coast tour.
In September 1977 a Mid-Atlantic Rugby Side (MARS) was organized. Four men’s sides, two women’s sides, ten administrators and numerous supporters toured England and Wales – probably one of the largest touring groups ever to depart the United States.
The EPRU All-Star players are chosen through a series of trial games and practices. The Senior All-Stars finished “runner-up” in the Familton Cup in 1982, 83, 85, 86 & 87. The Under 25 All-Star squad won the USARE Northern Championship in April 1991. The Collegiate All-Stars won the Rugby East Northern Championship in April 1993 and again in April 1994. Several EPRU players played for the USA Rugby East Colonial’s and Minutemen (Under 25) rosters, and the Collegiate All-Star Side. Some have reached the playing elite: members of the USA Eagles. The EPRU has had Eagle representatives on the 15’s, 7s, Women’s and All-American Collegiate squads, and has produced National coaches in 7s and 15’s.
The logo of the EPRU is the Keystone and the playing colors are red and white. The proud tradition of the Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union continues!
Past EPRU Presidents
1971-72 — Ben Spillard
1972-74 — Matt Tyksinski
1974-76 — Bob Wells
1976-78 — John Galante
1978-79 — Hunter Martin
1979-85 — Al Little
1985-86 — Steve Love (resigned 12/15/86) VP Dennis O’Brien became Acting President
1986-88 — Dennis O’Brien
1988-90 — Bill Fulton
1990-93 — Alan Matas (resigned 1/22/93) VP M.L. Wernecke became Acting President
1993-97 — Hunter Martin
1997-99 — Alan Matas
1999-00 — Dawn White
2000-05 — Sean Conroy
2005-09 — Steve Cohen
2009-11 — Joe Grohovsky
2011-12 — Ari Christakis
2012-16 — Jennifer Bustamante (resigned 2/20/16) VP Frank Lentz became Acting President
2016-18 — Frank Lentz
2018-19 — Mike Besio
2019-Present — Bryan Dewease