Santa Monica Rugby Club has turned to one of its own to take charge of its men’s program by appointing Riaz Fredericks as head coach.

Riaz began his rugby career in his hometown of Perth, Western Australia, eventually moving to Sydney to play for Eastern Suburbs, one of Sydney’s elite programs. Eventually, his career took him to Hong Kong where he represented Hong Kong in both 15’s and 7’s, Riaz then made his way to Great Britain playing for Ulster European Cup Champions and eventually Bedford. In 2005 he arrived in Santa Monica at the behest of his former Hong Kong teammate and Santa Monica’s then coach, Stu Krohn, leading Santa Monica to its first of two consecutive national championships, where he was tournament MVP in 2005.

When asked about how he intends to move the program forward he said that he expects the players to make the same commitment to preparedness as he exercised throughout his playing career. “I’m just beginning to evaluate the talent, which will determine the style of play we will be undertaking this season. I’ve made it clear to the boys what our goals will be for the season, and I feel that with each practice session we are getting closer to reaching them.” When pressed about the goals, Riaz replied simply, “making the playoffs.”

On a more global scale Riaz is looking to bring the Golden Dolphins, Santa Monica’s old boys, into a more involved role with the club. “I remember when I first came to the Club and especially as we drove towards that first championship, how involved Stu managed to get the old boys with our program. I really want to not just bring them back, but to make them feel as much a part of the Club as the players. We have a rich history which I don’t want to lose sight of and, more importantly, I want the current players to learn about all of those who came before us to make sure that they honor what the old boys did to make SMRC the club it is now.”

– By Bobby Hacker