Those Who Stay Will Be Champions


The ball sailed off target from the goalposts, the whistle blew as the referee signaled the end of the match, and the Cougar Rugby team broke into a frenzy. They became winners again, and there was a sense that they would never look back.

Leading up to their February match against the University of South Carolina, Cougar Rugby was growing tired of celebrating moral victories. They had not won a fifteens match since fall 2015 against UNC-Wilmington, who sent their B-side in lieu of an A team who had earned a conference playoff birth. During this period, the players worked through a series of challenges that nearly forced them to permanently step down a level of competition. That’s when player participation fell, as well. “It’s hard to stay fully committed to something like that,” recalled rising senior Jared Ball, winger from Florence, SC. “So that’s when the excuses began to roll in. After a close defeat we would hear ‘but you’re getting better’ or ‘that team was much bigger.’ After a while you get a little tired of hearing those excuses and you want to do something about it instead.”

Beating USC, who is consistently ranked in the Division I polls, marked a new era for the C of C players.

“It was euphoric,” said front row specialist Ryan Morris, a rising junior from Bluffton, SC. “For guys like me and Jared, who are in the middle of our careers, it felt like a turning point towards much better play.”

The momentous sway would lead to a 2-2 finish at the first Southern Rugby Conference Sevens tournament, where the Cougars took down Elon and UNCW, and narrowly lost to The Citadel, the previous year’s conference champions in Sevens. They went on to break even in every Sevens tournament for the rest of spring and finished off with a massive 82-10 win against the Blockade in the final fifteens match of the year, and it was their tenth win for the semester. To the players, better organization and strengthened trust were the catalysts for success.

“Things really fell into place when the structure of the team became reinforced,” said Jared Ball, “and we began to receive faithful coaching. Those things go a long way.”

Ryan Morris emphasized the strength of the team’s diverse skillsets and interests.

“This is a special group,” he said. “Most of us did not play rugby prior to attending C of C, and we’re like this rag tag group of guys who are trying to get things done. We have some of the best former high school wrestlers in SC, guys who were offered football scholarships, a swimmer, a former Marine, the front man of a rock band, a trumpet player, and we’re all a little bit insane. But I think that’s what makes us great.”

Now, midway through the offseason, the team is taking steps to build on their success from the spring. The newly elected officer group has committed their time to weekly recruiting at summer orientation and staying in touch with every returner on the team. For the guys who are still in town, pop-up skill sessions with Coach Conners have become the norm. And according to Ball, the team has not lost that chip on their shoulder.

“I don’t feel like we are a winning team yet,” said Ball. “But now that we are winning, we will have to keep it up for a long time in order to get to that point. We need to stay open to learning in order to grow.”

Read More Fall 2018

Blackout Tournament 2016: Preview

Winter Is Coming: The Return of the Blackout Tournament

By: Nick Conners

Much like the fabled “winter” in the HBO Series Game of Thrones, anticipation has peaked at the

possible return of Charleston’s famed Blackout Tournament. Sure enough, it has come. This Saturday,

March 26, the College of Charleston will host the University of Wisconsin, University of North Carolina,

the Citadel, and the Blockade at The Yard. The Cougars head into this tournament following a strong

showing at the Citadel 7s and Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Tournament. Players like freshman fly-half Zach

Kaminski are feeling optimistic about the Cougars’ prospects.

“We are starting to build chemistry and a relationship on the field together and it’s making an

impact,” said Kaminski, “and practicing and playing with the upperclassmen has really prepared me as a

player both on and off the pitch, so I’m excited to see what happens this weekend.” Of course, this will

be Kaminski’s first year participating in the Blackout Tournament, as will be the case for most of the

young College of Charleston players. Some of the upperclassmen, like senior scrum-half and Club

President Bradley Russell, are aware of the history this tournament brings and the potential this year’s

showing can offer for the future.

“I’m really happy I get to play in the Blackout Tournament my senior year,” said Russell. “I feel

like this tournament is emblematic of the good things that are to come for C of C Rugby.” With Accepted

Students Weekend recruiting and tournament preparation out of the way, the Cougars are ready to do

what they love most- just get out and play some rugby. As President Russell would say- The Blackout

Tournament is back, and so is Cougar Rugby.

Read More News, Spring 2016

Season Preview

Fall 2015 Season Preview

By Mathew Garrison

Well ladies and gentlemen;

Rugby is back in the low country for the College of Charleston!

After having a disappointing 2014 matrix, the men’s team has begun training for the 2015-2016 season with high expectations. The Cougars are returning many upper classmen including 2014 All-Conference hooker Cody Ashy as the forwards captain; 2014 All-conference Outside Center, Marcus Rojas as the backs captain, and Nick Conners as club president, to name a few. The veterans have returned to campus in shape, in mid-season form, and hungry to get the matrix season rolling and to add more names to the all-conference list.

The start of the season has also seen the rise of new members to the club. Recruiting efforts over the spring and summer have paid off for the club, seeing a larger number of new players training hard and competing for starting spots. The club also has a larger number of freshmen who played rugby in high school, which has added to the level of play. Underclassmen who played high levels of Rugby in Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia hit the ground running and are expected to be early contributors.  

The Cougars will need all hands on deck for the upcoming year. Not only will they be competing in their matrix season in the fall, they have been invited to compete in the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) Playoffs in the spring 2016. Beginning with a playoff on Nov 7 against Elon, Lander and UNC-G, the Cougars have the chance to face the Champion of the Cardinals Rugby Conference then on to the sweet 16 in April in Charlotte, NC and culminating in the National Championship game at Glendale, CO. May 1st 2016. Needless to say, there is a lot on the line for the club this year.  

With a mix of veteran experience and leadership coupled with new blood and energy, the Cougar Men are slated to great things this season.


Read More Fall 2015, News

No time for “Boys of Summer” During Off-Season Training

Cougars Not Sitting Idle During Summer Months

Summer is the ultimate intermission for most college students, as preparation for the academic year largely takes a backseat to the average 20-year old’s leisurely priorities – relaxing, beaches, concerts and much summer fun that we will dismiss for now.

Before entering the “real world,” summer is reinforcement to the youthful notion that hard work has its time, and this is not that time. For Cougar Rugby, however, this intermission is not lacking continuity.

Recruiting, weight lifting, conditioning, and, perhaps most notably, early training sessions all contribute to a summer dominated by fun, but speckled with responsibility and progress. The summer training sessions in particular have served as a connection from what was to what will be for the Cougars, as players old and new have come together to develop team chemistry before the student body moves to campus.

Second year player Dave Austin views these sessions as a way to build a sense of collective encouragement, saying, “It brings us closer together as a group because we are having to push each other to be better.” Being a returner, having early contact with upperclassmen and coaches gives young returners like Austin a chance to polish their weaknesses and realize their strengths. Austin states he is working on “kicking, strength training, learning when to offload, learning how to play a ‘fastball’ style of rugby” in hopes of “becoming the leader on the team that I want to be.”

Fortunately, summer programs like SPECTRA have given incoming freshmen the opportunity to participate, as well. Omari Bey, a former football player from Lexington, SC has taken summer practice as a way to insert himself in a grounded social-group, as well as a way to get used to a new sport. “I see the club allowing me to have connections within and outside of the rugby community early on, which I will use throughout college,” says Bey. “These sessions really helped me out learning the mechanics and technicalities of the sport. A lot of it was hands-on, so I think I’m more prepared than someone who is coming to practice for the first time.”

With weeks of practice already under their belt, these young players look to hit the ground running when school-week practices begin August 24. Stay tuned!

Read More Fall 2015, News

Player Spotlight: Bryce Christian

Player Spotlight: Bryce Christian

By: Nick Conners

Cougar Rugby: Tell us a bit about your high school experience

Bryce: I played for four years at Belmont High School in Massachusetts. We were known as BRFC (Belmont Rugby Football Club). In the four years that I played there we went to the Division 1 state championship three times and won it once. It was really because of all our coaches we found such success. Alongside BRFC I also played for the Boston Irish Wolfhounds in the U-19 summer league to play the summer 7’s tournaments and I also played for the Massachusetts Rugby Youth Organization (MYRO) where we played in the New England all-star tournament.

Cougar Rugby: How did you hear about C of C?

Bryce: My mom is from Tennessee and kind of missed being down here, so when I was a junior in high school she decided that she wanted to move to one of the Carolina’s when I went off to college. She ended up taking me down to visit North and South Carolina schools one school vacation. She did all the work, planning out every school we were going to visit, I just kind of went along for the ride. After visiting about 8 or 9 schools, none of which really interested me, we found ourselves at College of Charleston. After the tour it immediately became my #1 school.

Cougar Rugby: Tell us a bit about the iCharleston program and how you will maintain rugby training this fall.

Bryce: Well, I’m required to go abroad for the first semester before being admitted to CofC. My semester abroad will be spent with 24 other iCharleston admitted freshmen in Dublin, Ireland. I’m there for four months and in that time I’m expecting to play with a club team in the area, which I’m pumped for. Being able to play with kids from overseas is a blast; I’ve experienced it twice before when playing two matches against clubs in Portugal with my high school club senior year. Just playing rugby with these kids and learning all that they have to show is going to totally amplify my Ireland experience.

Cougar Rugby: Have you had the chance to get to know some of the guys on the team during your summer stay?

Bryce: Yeah absolutely. Without this sport this would have been the most boring summer ever. I wouldn’t have had any connections to anyone in the area or anything to do. I would have been so lost. After meeting with the coach one on one the day after my arrival I was given your number and just met up with a couple other guys to pass the ball around and run lines. Although running lines and passing the ball sounds so simple, rugby is a sport of automatic connections. So when I met just a couple of the guys I was going to play with next year it was automatically a lot more fun than anyone else I would have met here over the summer. From nights out together to practicing together at the mini camps, it’s been an overall great experience.

Cougar Rugby: How do you see yourself contributing to the team in the spring?

Bryce: I don’t think that you can ask any more of a person than to play their heart out and pass on what they know, which is what I plan on doing and what I expect of everyone I play with. Giving 100% into every tackle, ruck, run and pass is what the sport’s all about. So whether that means a starting position, a reserve, or a B side player I just plan on playing till the whistle and helping teammates out when possible.

Read More Fall 2015, News

Fall Schedule

2015 Fall Schedule

9/12- Home vs. Lander*

9/19- Home vs. Furman*

9/25- @ Coastal Carolina*

10/3- Home vs. UNCW*

10/9- @ USC (Palmetto Team)

10/17- @Citadel*

11/14- Armstrong Atlantic Tournament in Savannah


*Matrix match

Read More Fall 2015, News

Aaaaaaan We’re Back!

Aaaaaaand We’re Back!

We’ve been MIA for a while now — working hard on our new project that’ll be launched soon (or take a peek at the CofC Mens’r RFC Facebook page and see if you can find it), but we’re back now and lots of news, updates, and results to come.

Keep checking back!

Read More Fall 2015, News

C of C vs Lander Match Report

Despite some morning overcast in Greenville, there would be no raining on the Cougars’ performance against the Lander Bearcats. C of C started fast with some aggressive hammers by big Drew Bigelow on the first possession, capped by winger Sam Street for the go-ahead try. The momentum was then carried by senior fly-half Chris Natoli, who took advantage of a line break to put the Cougars up by two scores. Lander would not go down easily, however, as they capitalized on Charleston’s mistakes to bring the score to 12-10 before halftime. Both teams carried intensity into the second half, giving little ground until senior scrum half John Sussingham took the ball himself for an explosive score. From there, the tired Bearcars could not compete with Charleston’s backline. Junior Marcus Rojas saw enough daylight for two tries from his center position, and Bryn D’Andrea contributed a score after tight roping down the sideline. Also contributing was Sam Holaday, a freshman fullback who scored his first try for the club, as well as Junior Aidan Londregan with a try of his own.

In the end, the Cougars ran to a 50-18 victory over Lander, awarding Man of the Match honors to the new rookies (4 started, 2 subbed). This Saturday, the Cougars travel back to Greenville to take on the always- challenging Furman Paladins. Stay tuned Chuck fans, these men are ready to SHOCK THE WORLD!

Read More Fall 2014

Join Us!

Want to get into beach shape, develop new skills, and join a fraternity where the real dues are paid in sweat and blood? Then this fall, instead of sitting sitting around doing nothing, come and join the CofC Cougars as we take on the competition on the rugby pitch.

No experience needed! We welcome anyone to our team, so whether you’ve played before, played other sports, or just want to get active for the first time, come on out! We’re a mix of guys who’ve played rugby, football, soccer, lax, and many other sports. We just share the same passion to strive to succeed and put in the hard work to not let down our teammates.

Rugby’s an easy sport to learn and all you need to start is a pair of cleats (soccer or football ones work fine), a mouthguard ($10 for Dicks – non-tethered one) and a strong pair of shorts and durable polo/t-shirt.

If you want more info or know someone else who may be interested, email team president Ben Tomkins:

See you at practice!

Read More Fall 2014, News

Fall 2014 Schedule

Fall Schedule 2014

September 13th
College of Charleston at Lander University (Hosted by Furman University)
UNC-Charlotte at Elon University
Appalachian State at East Carolina University
Western Carolina University at UNC- Greensboro
Furman University at Coastal Carolina University

September 20th
UNC-Wilmington at Coastal Carolina University
College of Charleston at Furman University
UNC-Greensboro at Elon University
UNC-Charlotte at Appalachian State University
Lander University at The Citadel

September 27th
UNC-Greensboro at UNC-Charlotte
Elon University at East Carolina University
Furman University at The Citadel
Western Carolina University at Appalachian State University
Lander University at UNC-Wilmington

October 4th
College of Charleston at UNC-Wilmington
Coastal Carolina University at The Citadel
Elon University at Appalachian State University
East Carolina University at Western Carolina University
Lander University at Furman University

October 18th
UNC-Wilmington at Furman University
Coastal Carolina University at Lander University (Hosted by Furman University)
The Citadel at College of Charleston
UNC-Greensboro at East Carolina University
UNC-Charlotte at Western Carolina University

October 25th
Coastal Carolina University at College of Charleston
The Citadel at UNC-WIlmington
East Carolina University at UNC-Charlotte
East Carolina at UNC-Charlotte
Appalachian State University at UNC-Greensboro
Western Carolina at Elon University

November 1st
Final Four Weekend- Location TBD

Read More Fall 2014, News