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.


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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!

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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.

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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

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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!

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