News and Announcements
The Mitsubishi Electric Rugby Barbados World 7s tournament took place over the weekend, once again attracting quality 7s programs from around the world. This tournament, previously known as Tobago 7s, is the longest running club rugby 7s tournament in the Caribbean and has been running for over 30 years. It is run in conjunction with the Rugby Barbados Marathon and 10K international race with the slogan “Come for the Run, Stay for the Rum, and Revel in the Rugby!”
This year’s tournament made history by moving to Kensington Oval, which is an iconic cricket venue, making it the first time that international rugby at any level was played in one of the “regional ovals.” This location actually lies in the heart of the UNESCO-designated Historic Bridgetown. The tournament also featured $30K in total prize money and had a strong social component with the local community that included traditional Christmas carol singing, and community service projects.
The Men’s Elite division was strong as usual featuring the defending champion ProjecX Waterboys from Scotland who successfully defended their title by beating the Olorun PontoButchers from Wales in the finals.
Atlantis Rugby, which was founded by former Skill Rugby 7s coach Emil Signes (who has the Club Nationals Championship trophy named after him) took third place with a roster that included 3 Schuylkill players and 2 Schuylkill coaches:
Brian Keown – Schuylkill’s Club Captain, played his high school rugby for St. Joe’s Prep and his college rugby for the University of South Carolina before joining Skill Rugby full time.
Mitch Vannoy – The pride of Christiana High School, played collegiate rugby for the University of Delaware and is currently on their coaching staff. Mitch joined the Skill Rugby 7s team in 2015 and has been on 11 tours with Atlantis. He can be seen in the upcoming Nomads movie about high school rugby in Philadelphia.
Dan Deal – Played locally with St. Augustine Prep in high school and St. Joe’s University in college. Dan is one of Skill Rugby’s best up and coming young players and also volunteers his time to help coach our U-19 7s team and do Rookie Rugby at the local boys and girls club.
Christopher “Pudge” Ryan – The Head Coach of Princeton Women’s Rugby, Coach Ryan is a longtime member of Skill Rugby’s 7s coaching staff and is widely regarded as one of the best 7s coaches in the country.
Biddy Boyle – A member of Blackthorn RFC’s “Team of the Millennium” that competed in the 1984 National Final Four, Biddy is currently the Head Coach of Skill Rugby’s U-23 Academy and he has had an incredible impact in helping to develop our young talent.
The Stay At Home Dads, featuring Schuylkill River Rugby players James Teti, James Glatts, and Brendan Reif are playing a show at Boot and Saddle on Friday December 14. There’s a Facebook event for the show which can be found here (https://www.facebook.com/events/1619096748235583/?ti=icl) and the venue can be located at 1131 S. Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19147. Doors open at 6 and the opening act begins at 6:30.
We asked James Teti to tell us what the band was all about and here is what he had to say “SAHDs started out as a last-minute project, like all of our shows have been to date. I was approached by Beans (Drexel Rugby) and asked if I wanted to fill a slot in a basement show because a band bailed last minute. I said yes, of course. I didn’t have a band so in two weeks’ time I recruited James Glatts, Dylan Glatts (who never really played drums before), Brendan Reif, Kris Bertolino and Jim O’Brien. We learned 8 or so songs and have grown the canon and the size of the band since. We clearly don’t take ourselves seriously — all we care about is putting on a good show for everyone, being as interactive with the crowd as possible and making sure everyone has fun. Another core philosophy of ours is the ‘revolving door’ nature of the band. You wanna sing a song? You wanna play guitar on one? Step up. We don’t care. It’s all about fun right now.” Teti went on to explain that their influences include “all thinks punk and backyard wrestling” and photos from previous performances show a lot of local rugby players in attendance and everyone having a good time.
The band includes the following members:
Vocals – James Teti, Andrew Malitia
Guitars – James Glatts, Kris Bertolino
Bass – Jim O’Brien, Brendan Reif
Drums – Fitzy, Dylan Glatts
We hope to see you at the show on Friday!
As part of an ongoing tradition, Schuylkill River Rugby participated in two 7s tournaments over Thanksgiving weekend. First up was Apple Pie 7s in Fairmount Park on Black Friday to benefit the Josias A. Sterling Aquatic Education Program. Josias Sterling played rugby for St. Joe’s Prep and Temple University before tragically losing his life at a young age. The Foundation started in his name works to provide swim lessons to underprivileged individuals at the Salvation Army Kroc center. The lessons follow a 12 week plan and so far the Foundation has been able to provide 1500 lessons. This event carries a lot of emotional weight for the Philadelphia rugby community and it is great to see that the benefit it provides has been tremendous. Our top performers from that tournament included Lucas Brickley, Dave Gross, and John Hines Jr.
On Saturday we entered a side in the Men’s Premier Division of New York 7s. Schuylkill River Rugby is regularly the only domestic club side that enters into this division and is one of the only U.S. based club sides in the tournament at all. Our competition features mostly select sides and foreign teams while our side this weekend was a younger team of homegrown players, all of whom are previously established Schuylkill River players.
As explained by Coach Burch “New York 7s always seems to be a tough gritty day. As expected we faced some top level opponents. In pool play we were matched up against the eventual champion (Liberty 9410), tournament runner up, and bowl champion. The physical play left us with a couple of injuries going into knock out play but although we were down to 9 players we bounced back and the day culminated in a win against a good Pacific Islanders team.”
Coach Burch identified Brian Keown, Mitch Vanney, and Louis Baeza as standout players and mentioned that this was the first men’s premier 7s action for Baeza, Jabari Johnson, Kyle Kent, and Sean Barnes. Bringing a young squad to this tournament enabled us to gain some valuable experience which we hope to use in tournaments to come. Here’s the full New York 7s roster:
1. Dan Deal – St. Augustine Prep, St. Joe’s University #THWND
2. Brian Keown – St. Joe’s Prep
3. Jason DeNofa – Kutztown University
4. Pete Mulville – Temple
5. Matt Henderson – Lock Haven
6. Mitch Vannoy – University of Delaware
7. Sean Barnes – St. Joe’s Prep
8. Cody Bukowski – Drexel University
9. John McCurdy – Malvern Prep, University of Delaware
10. Jabari Johnson – Bloomsburg
11. Louis Baeza – Drexel
12. Kyle “Superman” Kent – Drexel
The Exiles finished up the fall season on a strong note Saturday by defeating the Pittsburgh Harlequins 40-12 to retain the Pelly Cup for another year. The Pelly cup is in honor of Eric Pelly, a U-19 player for Pittsburgh who tragically passed away in 2006. The game carries a lot of emotion for the entire Pittsburgh organization. In addition to honoring Eric Pelly, Schuylkill River remembers and honors our own Jason “Face” Siddell a promising young player with a never say impossible attitude who battled every game for us, often leading the way with a big hit or important try. Face passed away just before his 25th birthday on Jan 4, 2008.
Jimmy Wolfer got things started off for the Exiles with a try in the 15th minute but a failed clearance allowed Pittsburgh to get the ball back deep in our zone and take a 7-5 lead. Lucas Brickley scored 30 minutes into the match to help us take a 12-7 lead into the half. The second half of the match was a great 40 minute performance from the Exiles. Brian Keown hit a penalty 5 minutes into the half to give us a 15-7 lead followed up by a try from Randy Helsman 55 minutes in to make it 22-7.
Pittsburgh scored a try to make it 22-12 with 20 minutes to go followed by two quick penalties from Keown and a match sealing try from Dan Deal with 7 minutes left in the game to make the score 35-12. To the delight of the home fans the match ended with Matt “The Hawk” Henderson taking flight to score a diving try following an attempted clearance kick from Pittsburgh.
After the match, Coach Burch stated that “on a windy day we seemed to be the first to adjust to the weather. For the better part of the second half our tactical kicking put Pittsburgh under pressure. Lucas Brickley and Brad Volm had outstanding days by constantly causing pressure at the breakdown. We look forward to working hard over the winter and preparing for league play on March 16.”
Lucas Brickley earned man of the match honors for his performance in the front row. Austin Lucas also deserves credit for his hard work in the second half and John McCurdy earned a yellow card against Pittsburgh due to his hard running attack lines which enabled us to put them under tremendous pressure and seal the match.
Tries: Lucas Brickley (1), Dan Deal (1), Randy Helsman (1), Matt Henderson (1), Jimmy Wolfer (1)
Cons: Keown (3)
Pens: Keown (3)
Although the scoreline in a 38-5 loss against Northeast Irish might not show it, Troop also played a pretty strong match on Saturday. Against a team that previously beat us 67-0 this fall the guys came out and exhibited much improved ball retention and physical defense. It just wasn’t enough against a team that went 8-0 this fall and appears headed to the national playoffs as well as a likely promotion to Division 2.
Troop’s try was scored by Richard Casey following a sequence of pick and goes on the Northeast goal line.
Following the match, Coach Burch stated that "for the first 15 minutes we frustrated the Irish with great ball retention and physical defense. A couple long breaks, and the physical play, seemed to wear us down in the second half. Greg Mininger had a great day. His recognition and kicking put some unwanted pressure on the Irish back 3. We hope to solidify this side to make a push for playoffs next spring.
Greg Mininger earned man of the match honors for physical defense in the mid-field and effective tactical kicking throughout the match. Ross McMonigle and Mike Ruggeri also both played well and John “Cat Stevens” Vizzachero deserves recognition for showing up ready to play and making some huge tackles when called on as a reserve.
Tries: Rich Casey (1)
Season Scoring Totals:
Tries: Jabari Johnson (3), John Hines Jr. (2), Dave Hilley (2) Michael Bacon (1), Justin Brown (1), James Brunson (1) Cody Bukowski (1), Ed Carter (1), Rich Casey (1), Dave Hockenberry (1), Matt Hughes (1), Ross McMonigle (1), Lake Paul (1), Tom Stenberg (1)
Cons: Ryan Tower (9)
Pens: Ryan Tower (4)
Tries: Sean Barnes (4), Randy Helsman (4), Dan Deal (3), Matt Henderson (3), Brian Keown (3), Joe Midwig (2), Pat Boyle (1), Lucas Brickley (1), Matt Chiaramonte (1), Jeff Hall (1), Dante Jacquet (1) Jabari Johnson (1), Ricky Schneider (1), Brad Volm (1) Jimmy Wolfer (1)
Cons: Keown (15)
Pens: Keown (8)
Schuylkill River Rugby travelled to South Africa for a tour from March 18 – 25. We got a little sidetracked but now that we’ve collected all of our photos and had a bye week we’re finally doing the write up. If you go to our Facebook page you can find an album with photos from the trip.
Day 1: After a long flight, and an even longer search for Brian Keown’s wallet, we headed to our hotel to check in before heading to the rhino park. At the rhino park we had the opportunity to play and take photos with tiger cubs and a cheetah while also seeing some full grown big cats, the rhinos, and the pygmy hippos. From there we headed to the Varsity Cup match between the University of Pretoria and University of Johannesburg. UJ opened up a 27-7 lead but the match ended up being a draw when UP scored a last minute try and nailed the conversion. Interestingly, they have a rule that allows for 9 point tries if you run the ball out of your own end which helped UP earn the tie. The hotel was part of a large circus themed casino complex and the guys took advantage after the match. Brenden Reif and Hunter Valentine were particularly lucky, winning about 10K Rand between the two of them.
Day 2. The following morning we traveled to Piet Retief which is Izak Du Plooy’s hometown. After we got settled in we headed to the rugby club for our match. Tries were scored by Ian Glatts and Eric Sucheki. Following the match we had a spit braai dinner at their clubhouse. The locals told us that we were the first foreign team to ever show up in their town and some of them told us this match was the biggest event in their town’s history. That might sound like an exaggeration but based on the fact that this was a Tuesday night match played at 7PM and the social afterwards didn’t end until 10:30AM I think it’s legit. At one point we bought the bar completely out of booze and the local police chief organized a brandy resupply for us. Throughout the night we traded our jerseys and polos for Piet Retief gear and Joe Midwig successfully traded his polo for a man’s wedding ring while the wife apparently looked on approvingly.
Day 3. Following James Teti’s volunteer construction shift we headed to a rugby clinic with Albert Schlebush and Lindelani Makhanya. Albert is the current coach of Piet Retief high school as well as the U16 Pumas (the Pumas are a Currie Cup team which is South Africa’s highest domestic competition) while Lindelani is a University player who has also played for the Pumas during Craven week which is a big University competition. The clinic went pretty well given our fatigue level and the guys were able to learn some new techniques and drills to bring back home. In the evening we had team dinner at Deja-vu Lounge for potjiekos and taught the locals Dreams and Nightmares by Meek Mill while explaining the global importance of the Philadelphia Eagles winning the Superbowl. Bus driver Joe then showed us how give the bus a sunroof and we headed back to our lodging.
Day 4. Following our second night in Piet Retief we headed to Kruger park which is one of the largest games reserves in all of Africa (it is almost the size of Belgium). It is so impressive that people travel from around the world to South Africa just to visit Kruger. By my count we saw the following animals: hyenas, monkey, lions, tortoise, impala, Warthogs, zebra, giraffes, gnu, kudu, springbok, elephant, hippo, crocodile, waterbuck. The lions were particularly awe-inspiring. As we drove down the road 3 younger male lions decided to lie down in the road (apparently because the weather was cold and the road is warmer) and block traffic. One SUV was somewhat impatient and tried to get around them resulting in one of the lions appearing ready to attack the car. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see that as the lions decided to head back into the woods. After Kruger we had dinner at the Deck Restaurant followed by a team wide pool party where some of the participants were a bit more willing than the others.
Day 5. We started off the day by driving for coffee at Izak’s favorite place, Alzu, which is a rest stop/zoo combo that owns Rhinos. We didn’t get to see them but we did see an Eland. We then had breakfast at another Izak favorite, Mugg and Bean before making it to Pretoria where we took a tour of Loftus stadium and did some jersey shopping at the club store. Lunch was in the stadium at a sports bar called TrademarX. Afterwards we traveled to our lodge, the Pride of Africa Private Nature Reserve and had dinner at Kingfisher Restaurant. The guys finished the night by hanging out at the campfire and playing pool/darts in the rec room.
Day 6. We had a pre-match breakfast together at Kingfisher restaurant before traveling to Boksburg for our match where tries were scored by Tyler Kelly, Ricky Schneider, and Eric Sucheki. We had another jersey exchange and traded their club a signed jersey of ours in exchange for a framed jersey of theirs that they had made up for us. After heading back to the preserve we had a court session and a biltong party by the fire.
Day 7. We woke up and headed to the casino near the airport to kill time before flight home. During lunch Izak’s fiancé joined us and the two of them went with Izak’s family to look at wedding venues. We wish them the best of luck with their upcoming marriage. Gambling took place at Emperor’s Palace and once again the guys were successful. After a long flight home it was time to get back to normal.
Our goal is to go on tour every 2 years so we’ll be announcing the plan for our 2020 tour in the near future. Thanks for reading!