28 January 2016 (Laramie, WY) – WellDog announced today that it has established a rugby student athlete exchange program between the University of Wyoming and universities in Brisbane, Australia. The exchange program, developed in partnership with the nascent Wyoming Rugby Organization, will allow Australian and Wyoming students to study and play at the partner universities for up to a year. Wyoming players also have an option to join the University of Queensland rugby academy. Several players from both locations will take part in the program in 2016.
“This program is an excellent opportunity for our players,” said David Finnoff, UW men’s rugby club head coach and University of Wyoming associate professor of economics. “Queensland is the home of some of the most elite rugby teams and training systems in the world. This opportunity for our players to get intensive training at the highest levels and for Queensland’s elite players to come to Wyoming will be a game changer for our programs and great for the University of Wyoming overall. Wyoming had strong success on the international rugby scene in 2015 with Wyoming alum Chris Baumann playing successfully for the USA Eagles and scoring a try in the 2015 Rugby World Cup in London. Cody Jerabek, a current Wyoming standout player, has just been selected to for the 2016 Tiger Select Side. We look forward to expanding on this success with the Queensland exchange.”
“We look forward to sending our talent to the U.S. and receiving Wyoming players here in Queensland,” said Graeme Linklater, WellDog’s Asia/Pacific CFO and member of Queensland Brothers Rugby Club. “The learning opportunities for both sides are immense, and the opportunity to increase community interactions between Queensland and Wyoming is highly attractive. As the program matures, we will look to expand it to include other colleges and universities as well as other types of student participants.”
UW women’s rugby club kicks off their season during the USA Sevens International Rugby Tournament in Las Vegas in early March, playing an exhibition game against Wayne State University. The UW men’s rugby team travels this weekend for a brief northern California tour, playing a double header against 20th ranked Santa Clara University on Saturday, January 30 at 1pm Pacific Time, and against Stanford University on Sunday, January 31 at 11am Pacific Time. The University of Wyoming men and women teams started training this past Tuesday in the University of Wyoming state of the art indoor practice field complex.
ABOUT Wyoming Rugby Organization: USA Rugby, the International Rugby Board sanctioned governing body for rugby in the United States, recently approved Wyoming Rugby Organization as a State Rugby Association (SR0). WRO is tasked with developing and growing the sport of rugby for all youth, high school, college, and clubs in Wyoming. The organization’s focus is on player and coach development, safety, sportsmanship and using the unique community aspects of rugby to increase community health and interactions across Wyoming. The organization is in the start-up of phase and will soon be announcing where Wyomingites can sign up, learn about, and play rugby. In the meantime, interested parties can go to www.USArugby.org for more information about SROs and playing rugby.