The 2023-2024 Santa Monica men’s XVs season has been set, and there are a few notable changes to the overall structure for D1 this coming year.
Division 1 Men’s Teams
The Division 1 men’s teams for this year are (alphabetically):
- Belmont Shore
- Eagle Rock
- San Diego Old Aztecs
- San Luis Obispo
- Santa Monica
These teams will play a ten-game, home/away fixture. (See schedule at the bottom of this email.) In last season’s regular season, there was more parity among the top teams than any in recent memory. Belmont, OMBAC, Santa Monica and the Aztecs each split their home-away fixtures with each, so the final SoCal semi-final playoffs were decisive for nationals. It is looking to be another exciting season at the top of the table!
Promotion and Relegation for the Men’s Divisional Competition
SLO was the D2 SCRFU winner last year, and was promoted to D1. Oceanside finished last in the D1 standings, and has been relegated to D2. The SCRFU men’s 8-team second division includes Kern County, Los Angeles Rugby Club, North County Gurkhas, Oceanside, Pasadena, San Fernando Valley, Santa Barbara and Ventura.
D1 B-side Competition
What’s old is new again this season, as a Division 1 B-side competition is revived.
Since the ’00s, the larger clubs have been playing second or third sides in lower divisions. Last season, Belmont Shore, Santa Monica and Old Aztecs were the only teams that ran both a Division 1 team and a Division 2 team. The major challenge for these clubs was that on several weekends the team was split at two different locations if they weren’t playing each other.
For example, one Saturday last season the Dolphins A-side played in Oceanside, while the B-side played in San Luis Obispo. Both sides were short-handed, and while the A-side beat Oceanside on the road, our B-side, starting the game with barely 15 players to avoid the forfeit, had a rough day at the office against the eventual D2 champions SLO.
In the new model this season, every Division 1 game will have a B-side match. This is of course what most of us grew up with, and the obvious advantage is that bench players for the A-side will get more minutes. But more importantly, eligibility for playoffs will benefit as there is now more fluidity between the squads as there will no longer be limits on the number of games a player may play up or down. Lastly, Club culture will benefit as the entire men’s team will be together each weekend.
Men’s Team Practices Start Tuesday, November 7
The men’s team have already started working out on the beach on Saturdays this month (before heading down to O’Brien’s to watch the noon o’clock World Cup games). Official practice starts Tuesday, November 7th, at John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica, and runs Tuesdays and Thursdays from there.
Pre-Season and Regular Season Schedule
The preseason schedule is still taking shape, but notable outings include a trip to Phoenix to play Red Mountain on December 3, plus a weekday night game under the lights on Tuesday, December 12, hosting the touring Oxford University men’s team.
(Other preseason scrimmages are likely.)
The SCRFU regular schedule has been finalized. As mentioned above, every game, both home and away, will have a B-side match either before or after the D1 tilt.
Nov 4 AWAY Old Boys @ Santa Barbara
Dec 2 AWAY @ Red Mountain
Tues, Dec 12 HOME Oxford University (night game)
Jan 6 AWAY @ SLO
Jan 13 AWAY @ OMBAC
Jan 20 AWAY @ Eagle Rock
Jan 27 HOME Belmont Shore
Feb 10 HOME Old Aztecs
Feb 17 HOME San Luis Obispo
Feb 24 HOME OMBAC
Mar 2-3 Carson HSBC LA7s (no SCRFU games)
Mar 16 HOME Eagle Rock
Mar 23 AWAY @ Belmont Shore
Apr 6 AWAY @ Old Aztecs
Apr 13 TBD SoCal Playoffs
Apr 20 TBD SoCal Finals
May 4-5 Las Vegas Regionals @ Las Vegas
May 18-19 TBD USA Rugby Finals
Thanks for your continued support, and keep a look out for more updates as the season gets underway.