The Santa Monica Rugby Club’s U-19 boys team ultimately took a tough path to earn their first regional playoff berth in only their first complete season. After a 5-0 start this season, the Santa Monica team, made up of high school-aged boys from Santa Monica, Venice, and Crenshaw High Schools, among others, took two tough losses in a row on successive Saturdays before locking up second place in their division with a 33-21 win over the Hart District Wildcats this past weekend.
Solid defense was combined with strong attacks from the forwards, notably Lonnie Shankling, Jr., Elio Garces, and Wade LaRouche, and relentless pressure from the back line, especially Malleke Lord, Christian Staine, and Bryon Williams. Captain Tyler Pritchard made four of five conversions to put the final score at 33-21.
The U-19 boys will now travel to play in San Luis Obispo for the Southern California Youth Rugby Championships held May 10 and 11.
The Santa Monica U-14 boys rugby team also won their way through their conference opponents this season, finishing with a 5-2 record with just one more game to win before making their first championship appearance.
The U-14 boys will play Belmont Shore of Long Beach this Saturday at Daniel Webster Middle School as the curtain-raiser to the men’s club match-up between Santa Monica and San Francisco, part of the national Rugby Super League season.
Many of the U-14 boys were completely new to the sport this season, but the squad came together to lead Southern California in scoring with a mix of players ranging from Paul Revere Middle School in Brentwood to the Lycée Français in West LA and even Campbell Hall in North Hollywood. A core group of six boys first learned the game at Lincoln Middle School this past fall when rugby coaches from the Santa Monica Rugby Club were invited to teach the game to boys and girls as part of the school’s regular P.E. curriculum.
For more details about Santa Monica Youth Rugby, go to santamonicarugby.com/youth.
National Playoff Berth at Stake In Match Against San Francisco
The Santa Monica Rugby Club’s top tier men’s team will play San Francisco Golden Gate this Saturday at Daniel Webster Middle School in West LA. After a 3-0 start in the national Rugby Super League season, Santa Monica hit a rough patch, being tied by Dallas at home, and losing to Denver on the road before taking a tough home loss against Southern California rivals Belmont Shore this past weekend. Now the 3-2-1 Dolphins need a win against San Francisco this weekend to keep their playoff hopes alive. The match kicks off at 3 p.m.