Clemson – Collegiate Rugby Championship
CC 970×78

Clemson

clemson
In 1967 four friends, Frank Morah, Jeremy Pike, Nick Scholar, and Jeff Tyers dedicated themselves to forming a rugby team at Clemson University. The team struggled through many years of hardships like most new teams, but over time, the team showed steady improvement. Through hard work and dedication Clemson Rugby soon became a major force in collegiate rugby. With strong performances throughout the 1990’s and consistent top 15 national finishes from 2005-2007, the team was ready to take a major step up. During Clemson Rugby‰’s 40th year, in 2007, the Clemson Rugby Foundation (CRF) was formed to organize and grow the support for rugby at Clemson University. Through tremendous support from the University and the Clemson Rugby Foundation, the rugby team has made great strides to establish itself as an elite program in the United States. Clemson competes in the Atlantic Coast Rugby League as well as the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup. Led by USA Rugby All-American Assistant Coach and 2015 Penn Mutual Varsity Cup National Coach of the year, Justin Hickey, the Tigers have posted a 28-4 conference record over the last five seasons. In the 2015 Penn Mutual Varsity Cup, the Tigers claimed a 26-22 upset victory over Arkansas State University, but were up-ended narrowly at the United States Naval Academy the following week by the score of 23-24. After their team‰’s loss to the Midshipmen, Tigers finished as Runners-Up at the ACRL 7‰’s Championship the following week, and therefore, qualify to the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship in Philadelphia May 30-31.

Head Coach: Steve Lynch
Strength & Conditioning: Aaron Gootzeit
Athletic Trainer: Gage Berry

Players to Watch
Clemson is a long team. There are several Tigers hovering between 6’2” and 6’5”, which help Clemson keep the ball alive with offloads, buy extra time in breakdowns and create athletic mismatches across the field. Jason Damm is one of those guys, who also brings dynamism as a ball carrier and defender. Same for Drew Dommel. One of the Tigers who breaks the mold is James Rogers. He is more fleet footed with good speed to boot, and he runs with intent.

The Scoop
Clemson’s previous two campaigns at the CRC have been underwhelming. The Tigers won just a single game in 2016 and they went winless in 2015. That won’t happen this year, as the Clemson program has turned a corner. Rugby is now overseen by the vaunted Clemson athletic department, and the Tigers are reaping some benefits, which have helped them become more competitive on the field. They finished second at the Las Vegas Invitational in March, besting 26 other teams. The Tigers should be considered a real contender to reach the quarterfinals.

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