Santa Monica Rugby Club
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|Full name||Santa Monica Rugby Club|
|Location||Santa Monica, California, US|
|Ground(s)||Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnet |
[7400 W Manchester Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90045]
|League(s)||Pacific Rugby Premiership, Division 1 & 2, Southern California Youth Rugby|
Santa Monica Rugby Club is a rugby union club from Santa Monica, California, United States. The club teams, known as the Dolphins, compete in the Southern California Territorial Union (SCRFU), fielding teams in the following divisions: Division 1 (men), Division 1 (women), Division 2 - White (men), U18 boys, U16 boys, U14 boys, U12 boys, U10 coed, and U8 coed. Santa Monica's top men's team competes in the Pacific Rugby Premiership competition: the top club rugby competition in the United States.
The 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 have continued their winning ways since their inaugural season in 1972/73, going on to win the SCRFU Division I title five times in total. The club has produced numerous National team players for the national team, some of which have skippered the USA.
The 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 won at the Santa Barbara International Tournament.
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, Santa Monica was invited to join the US Rugby Super League for the 2007 season and the Board of Directors voted to accept the invitation to join. Santa Monica played 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) 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.
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 the annual Golden Dolphins old boys match on Club Day. The Club's most recent evolution has garnered national attention.
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.
Most recent Men's Program Head Coach and Club Director of Rugby Programming is former professional player, Marc Stcherbina.
Stcherbina moved to LA in 2011 having been retired from a twelve-year Professional rugby career which began in 1999. Born and raised in Sydney, Stcherbina’s first professional playing contract was with the NSW Waratahs, where he played for 5 seasons and represented Australia before playing in Biarritz in France from 2002-2004. Stcherbina then spent the remainder of his career with Northampton Saints and Cardiff Blues before injury ended his career while playing for the Newport Gwent Dragons.
After spending a couple of years post injury away from rugby completely, it was Santa Monica Rugby Club legend Shawn Lipman who convinced Stcherbina to get back into rugby and introduced him to Santa Monica to initiate his coaching career.
Stcherbina enjoyed the next 4 seasons as assistant coach of Santa Monica’s Men’s 15s program and was head of the 7s program in 2014, but now relishes the opportunity to take a club wide leading role during an exciting phase for the club, and rugby in general in the USA. “With this great sport becoming increasingly popular and edging toward professionalism, it is my aim to help Santa Monica be considered one of the premier clubs in the National Club rugby ranks” says Stcherbina.
Previous men's head coach was Greg Commins. Hailing originally from South Africa, Commins joined SMRC after spending two seasons with local rivals Belmont Shore, where he helped guide Belmont Shore to the 2010 club final, and 2011 quarter final (both seasons losing to the eventual National Champion). Commins was unable to better that success at Santa Monica.
Before relocating to Southern California the South African born coach worked at a number of prominent sides throughout Cape Town including Western Province, Villagers RFC and the University of Cape Town RFC. As a player, Commins represented Western Province as a scrumhalf.
The Santa Monica's Women's Rugby team was founded in 2005 by visionary members Brooke Nelson, Christine Healey, and Carol Fabrizio and others, and officially accepted into the union in 2006. Every year since inception, the "Lady Dolphins'" numbers have grown stronger and they have climbed the ranks of Southern California's and the Nation's best Women's Rugby programs. With a #6 National finish in 2014 and a #4 finish in 2015, they continue to battle for supremacy in the domestic game. Currently coached by former SMRC player Erica Sin, the Lady Dolphins are poised to compete at the top of the table in 2016.
With beginnings as a co-ed non-contact program for U-8s, U-12s and U-14s in 2004, the Santa Monica Rugby Club now run youth rugby programs for U-8's, U-10's, U-12's, U-14's, U-16's, and U-18's for both boys and girls, as well as holding a semi-annual rugby demonstration day and PE programs at Santa Monica public schools.
- "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. Archived from the original on 4 January 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2006.