FanPost

USC Rugby rises to #20 in latest American Rugby News Top 25

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SEC All-Star Calvin Storey advancing the ball with senior Max Minnillo in support [Mark Morris Photography]


Fresh off the heels of their 20-17 victory over Wake Forest University, the University of South Carolina men's rugby team has risen to #20 in the latest American Rugby News Top 25 (Tuesday, January 26, 2010). The ranking is the Gamecocks' highest ever in the ARN poll.

USC's record now stands at 15-3 overall (7-1 by ARN standards and 7-0 overall in 80-minute, full regulation matches), and 1-0 in Carolinas League play. Should USC finish atop the Carolinas League standings, it will go on to the South Final Four, where two berths to the USA Rugby National Round of 16 will be on the line. There, they would face #9 Arkansas State in the first round, with a possible South Championship match against #15 Florida (the likely Florida League winner) or #16 Tennessee (the likely Southeastern League winner).

The Gamecocks remaining schedule is as follows:

JAN. 30 - @ East Carolina
FEB. 06 - vs. Appalachian State (1:00 PM - STWFC Rugby Field - FREE Admission)
FEB. 13 - @ North Carolina State
FEB. 27 - @ North Carolina
MAR. 05 - vs. Clemson (7:00 PM - STWFC Rugby Field - FREE Admission)

MAR. 27 - @ South Final Four (Murfreesboro, TN)
MAR. 28 - @ South Championship (Murfreesboro, TN)

APR. 16 - @ USA Rugby National Round of 16 (Atlanta, GA or Santa Barbara, CA)
APR. 17 - @ USA Rugby National Round of 16 (Atlanta, GA or Santa Barbara, CA)

APR. 30 - @ USA Rugby National Final Four (Palo Alto, CA)
MAY. 01 - @ USA Rugby National Championship (Palo Alto, CA)

Founded in 1967, the University of South Carolina Men’s Rugby Club is the oldest club sport at USC, boasting a long and distinguished record of success. In 2007, the club was promoted to USA Rugby South Division 1(one of only 8 Southern universities) where we have competed against some of the most renowned teams in the nation. In 2008 and 2009, USC continued to demonstrate its national notoriety with proud showings in the National Top 25 collegiate rankings (American Rugby News), reaching as high as 22nd overall.

Starting in 2010, we will be playing in the new Carolinas Rugby League with two of our current Division 1 opponents (North Carolina & Clemson), as well as four additional teams which include Wake Forest, East Carolina, Appalachian State, & North Carolina State. Our hard work is evident throughout the school year, as our season encompasses both the Fall and Spring Semesters. In addition to scheduled matches, we compete in a number of tournaments including the Southeastern Conference Championship Rugby Tournament and the Palmetto State Tournament, which we have won more times than any other club in South Carolina. Several club members are also annually selected to the Palmetto Rugby Union Collegiate All-Star team and compete in the USA Rugby South Collegiate All-Star Tournament each November, where they are selected to tryout for the USA Rugby South Collegiate All-Star side that plays in Glendale, CO each summer.

With the direction of seven full-time USA Rugby certified coaches, our club not only teaches the love of the game, but also the many skills and techniques that are necessary to compete. As a note of great pride for our club, Head Coach Geoff Mason is one of only a few former professional players coaching a collegiate rugby club in the nation today.

We maintain a policy that everyone has the opportunity to play regardless of ability. With this philosophy, we are able to sustain a roster of 70+ players, which enables us to field three sides on any given game weekend. In fact, during the Fall 2009 season, Men's Rugby at USC was the nation's third largest rugby club. Our C side serves as our developmental side, currently competing in Division 3 with its own schedule and coaching staff. USC Men’s Rugby is proud to boast that we are the only team in all of USA Rugby South competition that has three sides of competitive ruggers.

The Men's Rugby Club is a proud tenant of the Strom Thurmond Wellness & Fitness Center's showcase field, and we also have an additional pitch on which we practice and play when necessary. Less than three years old, our field is widely considered by visiting coaches, teams, players, and fans as "the most beautiful pitch in the South." The Men's Rugby Club at the University of South Carolina is proud to call this pitch home for many years to come.

Our alumni, the Carolina Olde Boys, are among some of the most dedicated in the nation, with many donating both time and money to continue to support the club that taught them the game they love. C.O.B. members regularly attend USC home matches, including the club's annual affair with Clemson, and are generally very supportive of the the club through the purchasing of new equipment and providing assistance when necessary to fund the team's playoff runs. Each fall, C.O.B. members trek back to Columbia to take on USC in the annual alumni game and to recall the many stories of their college years. In 2007, the club celebrated its 40th Anniversary in style, with over 120 participants in the weekend's activities.

The Men's Rugby Club at the University of South Carolina regularly participates in various philanthropic activities through the school year and beyond. Our commitment to growing the game, as well as our community, is a testament to the character and values instilled in our players and our program. On campus, the Men's Rugby Club is a regular partner with the annual Carolina-Clemson Blood Drive, wherein we assist the American Red Cross in its on-campus operation. The club also regularly works with the South Carolina High School Rugby league, as the league's founder and several of its coaches are among our alumni. In the summer of 2009, USC began a tradition of sponsoring a local U19 Sevens squad, with the side victorious in numerous tournaments around the southeast. In 2010, the club will be supporting the newly-founded South Carolina Youth Rugby League through the donation of various equipment kits to be used in area elementary & middle school P.E. classes, further promoting the sport of rugby with the players of tomorrow.

If you require additional information, or if you like to arrange a visit during the season, you may contact us directly at sorugby@mailbox.sc.edu.

FanPosts are user-submitted and are not always representative of the Garnet And Black Attack editorial staff.

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