Mystic River Rugby Club

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Mystic River Rugby
Mrrc logo.PNG
Full name Mystic River Rugby Club (MRRC)
Union USA Rugby
Founded 1974
Ground(s) Pine Banks Park
Malden, MA (Capacity: 1000)
Coach(es) United States Josh Smith
United States Jake Sprague
Australia Glen Mannering
League(s) American Rugby Premeirship
NERFU Division 1
NERFU Division 2
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website
www.mysticrugby.com

The Mystic River Rugby Club is a New England Rugby Football Union (NERFU) club, founded in 1974, located in Malden, Massachusetts and Melrose, Massachusetts, who field teams in Division 1 American Rugby Premeirship and Division 2 Rugby Union in the United States and are the current 2016 USA Rugby D1 National Champions.[1]

Their home field is located at Pine Banks Park. Their primary sponsor is Coors Light.

History[edit]

The Early Years (1970's)[edit]

The Mystic River Rugby Club was founded in 1974 by 32 members of the Boston Rugby Club, who in true revolutionary spirit, took a great step forward in exercising their independence. These men had long since functioned as a ‘club within a club’ and had developed a distinct style of play both on and off the field. These members were experienced rugby players and immediately the Mystics established a schedule within the first division of New England. They soon became a sought after fixture by teams from all over based on a reputation for hard, fast rugby and an aggressive “joie de vie”.[2]

The club evolved throughout the 1970s with the influx of younger players and Tours to Wales and the former Soviet Union highlighted these years. In 1978, the Mystics became the first American rugby team to be invited to play rugby in the Soviet Union.[3] In the early 1980s the club saw a major turnover, a somewhat generational change, when several new players were attracted from local colleges. Old Boys rugby began to take shape and several of the original Mystics began playing a schedule of "over 30's" rugby. In 1986 the Mystics returned to Malden, Massachusetts where they were originally incorporated in 1976.[2]

The 1990’s: The Birth of a Dynasty[edit]

With several of the club’s players regularly representing New England and the East Coast in representative side play, the Mystics were committed to championship level rugby. Their reputation earned them respect overseas as well, with touring sides, such as the Glamorgan County RFC, seeking a challenge at top level rugby.

In 1989, Mystic River defeated their parent club Boston to win the first of seven straight New England championships. They would go on to win the Northeast Championship that same year. In 1992 the Mystic finished second in the US, losing to the Old Blues from California in the National Finals.[4] The Mystics had established themselves as a force within the national rugby community.[5]

The 2000's[edit]

In 2000 and 2001, Mystic River competed in the short lived Major League Rugby competition. Set up in the manner of the European Rugby Champions Cup, the MLR was designed to provide an additional competition structure for top division teams outside of their usual geographical unions and complement their USA Rugby competition schedule,[6][7] however, it was never sanctioned by USA Rugby and the Mystics returned to competing solely in USA Rugby competition in the fall of 2001.

The 2007 season saw the Mystics win their first New England title after twelve years, moving on to take the Northeast Championship in 2008 and a spot in the National Division 1 Sweet 16. In their 2009-2010 season, Mystic River again took both the New England and Northeast Championships, making it through to the quarter-final round of the USA Rugby DI National Championship Series as well as making their first ever appearance in the National Sweet 16 in 7s competition. 2010 also marked the expansion of the Mystic River Youth Rugby Program and the addition of the U-19 Mystic Eagles, who saw success in both 15s and 7s tournaments in their inaugural season.[2]

2014 Merger with Middlesex[edit]

In 2014, Mystic River merged with cross-town rivals, the Middlesex Barbarians, in an effort to develop the game of rugby in the area. While the details of the merger allowed the forty-year-old rugby club to retain their name, Middlesex coach Josh Smith took over head coaching duties for the combined club, with former Eagle prop Jake Sprague as forwards coach, and Glen Mannering directing the backs,[8][9] with the club now competing in both Division 1 and Division 2.

As the 2014-2015 season came to a close, the newly formed Mystics went undefeated at the top of the Division 1 table going into the playoffs. Post season wins against White Plains RFC and Kansas City earned them their first trip to the USA Rugby D1 Final Four tournament since 1992, while in D2 the Mystic Barbarians took the NERFU D2 Championship against division rival New Haven, eventually losing to New York Rugby Club in the USA Rugby D2 Round of 16 beginning a new era for Mystic Rugby.

The Mystics also saw success in 7s, qualifying for the 2015 USA Rugby Club 7s (USARC7) Championship Series for the second time in club history,[10] losing in the Semifinal round to eventual tournament winners Seattle Saracens, but coming away with the bronze medal.[11]

American Rugby Premiership (2015—present)[edit]

Beginning in the 2015-2016 season, Mystic River became a "defacto" member of the American Rugby Premiership (ARP), joining Life Running Eagles and fellow Atlantic North D1 clubs Boston RFC, NYAC, Old Blue and the Boston Irish Wolfhounds in the reformatted elite competition.[12]

Though officially a member of the Atlantic North Division 1 Conference, the Mystics competed in the ARP and played all teams but Life. They finished their regular season with a record of 6 wins and 2 losses in their inaugural year in the elite competition, automatically securing a berth in the USA Rugby Championships quarter-final round as the number two seed in the Atlantic North Conference.[13] A win over the Midwest Conference's number one seeded team would put the Mystics in the Final Four for the second year in a row, against ARP rivals Old Blue.[14][15] In the final match of the Eastern Championship Series, a 10—5 win put Mystic River in the Division 1 National Championship for the first time since 1992.[16][17] The Mystics would go to play the Western Conference Champions, the Austin Blacks in the USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club Men's Division I National Championship. After a hard fought match, Mystic River won their first ever National Title by a score of 45—33.[1]

National / Representative players[edit]

USA Eagles[edit]

This is a list of players who currently or have at one time played for the Mystics and have represented their country with the United States national rugby union team, also known as the Eagles, in rugby fifteens or sevens. Not represented in this list are the many Mystics who have been named to the Eagles' player pools or Junior sides over the years. For Rugby sevens players, (*) denotes tournament appearances such as World Rugby Sevens Series.

Player Name Rep Year(s) Caps Pts Debut Date
Dimitri Efthimiou 2010 1* 0 2010–11 IRB Sevens World Series 21 January 2010
Pono Haitsuka 2013–2014 5* 49 2013–14 IRB Sevens World Series 29 November 2013
Alec Montgomery 1986–1989 6 0 United States v Canada 8 November 1986
Anthony Purpura 2010–2017 5 5 United States v Russia 5 June 2010
Richard Tardits 1993–1999 24 10 United States v Australia XV 2 October 1993
Marcus Satavu 2014 2* - 2014 Japan Sevens 22 March 2014
Jake Sprague 2009 1 0 United States vs Uruguay 14 November 2009

Collegiate All-American Rugby Team[edit]

Honorable Mention[edit]



USA Maccabi Rugby[edit]

  • Alex Apple (2017)
  • James Calmas (1997*, 2001*, 2005*)
  • Jon Feldman (2017)
  • Marcos Flegmann (2017)
  • Jon Fonvielle (2015–present )
  • Guy Matisis (2013)
  • Dave "Buzzy" Rudzinsky (1989, 2013–present*)
  • Michael Rudzinsky (2013–present)

(*) As coaching staff


USA Hawks (Rugby League)[edit]

  • Marcos Flegmann (2015-present)
  • Lance Gaines (2009)
  • Derrick Roma (2009-2010)



Other Nations / Provinces[edit]

This is a list of Mystic River players who have represented other nations in rugby fifteens or sevens.

Provincial Representation

Championships[edit]

Fifteens (Division 1)[edit]

  • New England Champions (1989–1995, 2009, 2015)
  • Northeast Champions (1989, 1991, 2007, 2009–2012, 2015)
  • Eastern Champions (1991, 2016)
  • National Champions (2016)
  • National Playoff Appearances:
Playoff Round Appearances Year(s)
Sweet Sixteen 8 1989, 1991, 2008 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015
Quarter Finals 6 1992, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016
Semi Finals 3 1992, 2015, 2016
National Finalist 2 1992, 2016

Fifteens (Division 2)[edit]

  • New England Champions (2015, 2016)
  • National Playoff Appearances:
Playoff Round Appearances Year(s)
Sweet Sixteen 2 2015, 2016
Quarter Finals 0
Semi Finals 0
National Finalist 0

Sevens[edit]

Year Round Result
2010 Sweet Sixteen Did not medal
2015 Semifinals Bronze
2016 Quarterfinals Did not medal

Youth rugby[edit]

Mystic River founded their Youth Rugby program in 2005. It was originally aimed more at introducing local children in the surrounding community to the sport of rugby, via American Flag Rugby (AFL) and later USA Rugby's newly developed "Rookie Rugby", a non-contact flag variant of the sport for younger children. In 2010, the Mystics expanded the program to include competitive U-17 and U-19 teams. Both levels saw immediate success, quickly becoming perennial contenders and medalists in such competitions as the Bay State Games.[22]

The Mystics also field a Collegiate Select Side which selects stand out local collegiate rugby talent and plays teams both in the United States and abroad. In 2015, several former members of the Mystic Youth program would go on to receive collegiate All Conference honors.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Wise, Chad (4 June 2016). "Men's DI Crown earned by Mystic River in heavy-hitting final against Austin Blacks". usarugby.com. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c "Official Mystic River Rugby Website: Club History". Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "To Russia, with rugby". The Miami News. 24 July 1978. p. 5C. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "Club Championships History: Men's D1 Past Champions". usarugby.com. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
  5. ^ Blake, Andrew (11 October 1998). "Rugby's Mass. appeal: Everyone's welcome to join the fun". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  6. ^ Lowe, Brian (18 October 2002). "MLR seeks USARFU sanction". ESPN.go.com. Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  7. ^ Lueckemeyer, Chuck (18 October 2002). "MLR Cup Championship Preview". ESPN.go.com. Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  8. ^ "Mystic River, Middlesex Merge". RugbyToday.com. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  9. ^ Chipps, Issac (24 July 2014). "Mystic River Rugby and Middlesex Barbarians to merge". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  10. ^ Foley, Kerry (31 July 2015). "Mystic River Rugby Clinches Spot in USA Rugby Nationals Sweet 16". patch.com (Malden). Retrieved 26 April 2016. 
  11. ^ "Team finishes third in national championship". wickedlocal.com (Malden). 10 August 2015. Retrieved 11 August 2015. 
  12. ^ Reed, Curtis (10 September 2015). "ARP Begins Year Two This Weekend". This is American Rugby (www.thisisamericanrugby.com). Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  13. ^ Lappen, Evan (18 May 2016). "Old Blue, Rocky Gorge, Metropolis, Mystic River ready for DI Natioanals". RugbyToday.com. Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  14. ^ Anker, Brett (21 May 2016). "East Club National Quarterfinal Breakdown". RugbyToday.com. Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  15. ^ Reed, Curtis (21 May 2016). "Club Playoff East Regional Update". This is American Rugby (www.thisisamericanrugby.com). Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  16. ^ Reed, Curtis (22 May 2016). "Club Championship Finals Set". This is American Rugby (www.thisisamericanrugby.com). Retrieved 22 May 2016. 
  17. ^ Lappen, Evan (23 May 2016). "Mystic River edges Old Blue to advance to DI finals". RugbyMag.com. Retrieved 23 May 2016. 
  18. ^ Reed, Curtis (11 August 2014). "All-Americans, Hawks, Falcons Name Serevi RugbyTown Sevens Rosters". This is American Rugby (www.thisisamericanrugby.com). Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  19. ^ Wise, Chad (31 July 2013). "UMen's 2014-15 Collegiate All-American lists announced". USARugby.org. Retrieved 10 January 2016. 
  20. ^ RugbyMag Staff (10 August 2015). "USA Rugby Names Men 7s All Americans". RugbyToday.com. Retrieved 10 January 2016. 
  21. ^ RugbyMag Staff (5 July 2016). "USA Rugby names more than 130 players to 2015-16 Men's Collegiate All-Americans". UDARugby.org. Retrieved 12 November 2016. 
  22. ^ Clifton, Pat (24 July 2012). "Baystate Games Signal Growth in Youth 7s". RugbyToday.com. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 

External links[edit]