The College of Charleston’s Club Rugby team made huge strides during their fall season, improving from their 2017 record of 0-6 to a whopping 9-2. These wins included victories over opponents such as Coastal Carolina and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The College also defeated their arch-rival, the Citadel, allowing them to claim the Holy City Cup.
The team advanced even further, entering the National Small College Rugby Organization playoffs. After a forfeit from Elon University and complete domination over Lander University, the team won, for the first time in the College’s club rugby history, the NSRCO Southern Rugby Conference Championship.
The College was ultimately defeated by a team that would advance to finals in the playoffs. However, despite not being ranked at all in the pre-season, the team was ranked 18th in the NSRCO program by the end of the season.
The club rugby team is coached by Coach Nick Connors, who is an alumnis of the College of Charleston’s club rugby team himself. He came back to coach for the team he loves in the spring of 2017.
Coach Connors explains that their newfound success this season was due to a combination of many things, ranging from the “Forwards and Backs taking their game to a new level” to “our strategic kicking game” and “our aggressive team defense.” He discusses how the forwards managed to win the most scrums, which in layman’s terms means ‘possessions of the ball,’ since 2012 and the backs also scored the most tries (aka ‘touchdowns’) since the same year. He also elaborates on team defense; “The boys bought into the idea that playing defense meant trusting the guy next to you, and it was more meaningful to make a simple tackle than to score all the points.”
The captains of this season’s rugby team are Nick Shaw for the Backs and Alejandro Vega for the Forwards. Coach Connors said that “these guys and upperclassmen leaders like Jackson Hutchinson (senior forward) and Jared Ball (senior back) provided on-field leadership that elevated our standard of performance.”
Returners such as Josh Reynolds (sophomore forward), Logan Johnston (sophomore back), and Max Bisaha (sophomore back) also “showed their commitment to the team and added a physical presence to the team,” according to Connors.
Coach Connors did not fail to mention any new players, as he discussed how they each garnered Man of the Match performances at least once during the season. “We were fortunate to bring in a tremendous recruiting class, including Aubrey Anthony (freshman forward), Justin Wrighten (junior forward), Je’Alex Greenlee (freshman forward) and Matt Rockefeller (junior forward),” said Connors.
The team members, as well as Coach Connors, are proud of their accomplishments this season together. However, they are not done and look forward to improving even more for future seasons to come.