A new Boys HS league is being set up in the Southeast, with nine teams from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia committing to play in the new competition.
The idea behind the Mid-South Invitational Rugby League is to give top teams in the region tougher competition in a format that guarantees that the games will be played and played for a championship. Nine teams have committed: Lassiter and Phoenix from Georgia – the two top teams in that state; Wando and South Greenville from South Carolina – the two top teams from SC; Union County, Charlotte Catholic, Myers Park, and Charlotte Tigers from North Carolina – four of the best from that state. In addition, the Midland Marauders is a new team from Columbia, SC that will compete.
All of the teams involved have long histories of success in their state competitions except for the Midland Marauders, which is basically a new team drawing from players in the Columbia area, with Irmo being the most high-profile club supplying players.
Erik Saxon of the Charlotte Tigers is serving as a league commissioner, and said that the teams will be given three-week windows in which to play each of their games. This allows teams to work around league schedules.
Saxon said the MSIRL will not replace state competitions for the teams involved, but will simply be another league outside state conferences.
“We hope that each of our inaugural MSIRL teams sees the league as an enhancement to their programs, a chance to regularly play top-tier teams, and as a way to ultimately improve the level of rugby in our region overall,” said Saxon, who is joined by Nick Whitrow and Niall Fenton on the Board. Teams will not be charged fees or dues to participate, and it will be up to the home to to supply referees and safety measures.
The MSIRL is open to new teams, and every year the lineup of teams will change. The top four finishers in the spring of 2017 will retain their spots, but the other five could be replaced by teams from their states who finish well in the previous league season. So state competitions remain very important, but at the same time, this isn’t a closed-off assembly of teams. Saxon said he is already fielding more and more interest for next year, but he added that he wants to keep the geographic reach of the league small enough so that travel isn’t too difficult for the participants.
All nine teams will play each other once.
2016-17 MSIRL Teams: Lassiter Trojans (Ga.); Alpharetta Phoenix (Ga.); Wando Warriors (SC); South Greenville (SC); Midland Marauders (SC); Union County Lions (NC); Charlotte Catholic Cougars (NC); Myers Park Mustangs (NC); CJRA Charlotte Tigers (NC).