Santa Monica Rugby Club
|Full name||Santa Monica Rugby Club|
|Location||Santa Monica, California, US|
Daniel Webster middle school a.k.a. "The Dolphin Pit" [11330 Graham PlaceLos Angeles, CA 90064-3725]
|League(s)||Division 1 SCRFU|
Santa Monica Rugby Club is a rugby union club from Santa Monica, California. The team, also known as the Dolphins, compete in Division 1 of the Southern California Rugby Football Union (SCRFU). The Division 1 SCRFU competition is arguably the top level of club rugby in the United States. SCRFU comprises men's, women's and youth teams, all categories in which Santa Monica Rugby Club fields teams.
The Santa Monica Rugby Club was established in 1972 by rugby graduates of UCLA, USC and St. Mary's College. The club went undefeated in the SCRFU Division I, taking the championships in both the San Diego/OMBAC Tournament and the Monterey National Invitational. Santa Monica continued their winning ways since their inaugural season in 1972/73, going onto win the SCRFU Division I five seven times. The club has since produced numerous players for national team, some of which have skippered the USA.
The Santa Monica Rugby Club has won the SCRFU Division I league title seven times, captured top spot at the San Diego/OMBAC Tournament seven times, been to the national championships 8 times — winning on five occasions, and even won at the Santa Barbara International Tournament.
Twenty Santa Monica Rugby Club players have represented the United States in international competition as USA Eagles — three of them captained the national side. Three additional Club players have represented the USA on the World XV. Former Club and USA Eagle captain Craig Sweeney is honored by the Club's Craig Sweeney Fund, tax-deductible contributions go to support the long-term goals of Santa Monica Rugby.
Every year, notable club members from past seasons are honored at the Hall of Fame dinner following our annual Golden Dolphins old boys match on Club Day. The Club's most recent evolution has garnered national attention.
The current men's head coach is Doug Bratcher. Bratcher returned to a team that he assisted in coaching to Division I National Championships in 2005 and 2006. Returning to the sideline after taking a season off to focus on family and career, he oversees all aspects of the men’s program.
A former tighthead prop, Bratcher joined the club in 2000 and earned representative honors in 2001 and 2002, helping the Southern California Griffins to win the a National All-Star Championship in 2002. Bratcher’s Santa Monica Dolphins captured the SoCal title in 2002 and 2003.
After suffering a career-ending neck injury in the spring of 2003, Bratcher joined the Dolphins’ coaching staff as forwards coach. During his first three seasons as assistant coach, the men’s team qualified for the National semi-finals three consecutive years and brought home the Championship hardware in both 2005 and 2006.
In 2006, Santa Monica made a third consecutive final four appearance, defeating the Boston Irish Wolfhounds, 57 points to 19. After the 2006 Super League season an invitation was sent to Santa Monica to join to Super League for the 2007 season. The Board of Directors voted to accept the invitation to join the Rugby Super League. Santa Monica will play in the Western Division. The Boston Irish Wolfhounds also accepted the invitation to join the expanded competition.
Santa Monica and other regional rugby power-houses Belmont Shore RFC (Long Beach, CA) and OMBAC RFC (San Diego)have withdrew from the national Rugby Super League competition in favor of a Southern California Division 1 contest that has proven more competitive and cost effective.
Numerous Eagles and rep side players have dotted the Club's roster over the years. Beginning in 2003, the Club has paired its annual Club Day and Old Boys Game with a Hall of Fame banquet, honoring notables from all decades.
The Santa Monica women's team was founded in 2005 by visionary members Brooke Nelson, Christine Healey, Carol Fabrizio among others, and officially accepted into the union in 2006.
With beginnings as a co-ed non-contact program for U-8s, U-12s and U-14s, the Club now sponsors youth rugby programs for U-8's, U-10's, U-12's, U-14's, U-16's, and U-19's for both boys and girls, as well as sponsoring semi-annual rugby demonstration and PE programs at four local public schools. In 2013, the U-16s and u-18s both reached the Southern California Championship game, with the u16s, led by Olan Moon White and Benny Gonda winning against the San Diego Aztecs, while the u-18s fell to the San Diego Mustangs. Moon White was awarded game MVP. In 2014, the U-18s reached the final once again, this time defeating the San Diego Mustangs, led by their captain Alex Walsh, the game MVP. The Dolphins would later play in the NIT, reaching the Final, only to lose by the score of 14-0.
Shawn Lipman was selected as MVP of the Santa Monica Rugby Club in seven seasons.
- "Club History". santamonicarugby.com. Archived from the original on 19 August 2006. Retrieved 31 August 2006.
- "Boston Irish Wolfhounds To Join USA Rugby Super League". rugby-rugby.com. Retrieved 31 August 2006.