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Sweet 16

Santa Monica XV’s Rugby Season Wrap Up

Sweet 16The 2012 Dolphins XV season is officially in the books. Despite consecutive loses over the weekend to Glendale and OMBAC the 2012 season has been a huge success.

The club, celebrating it’s 40th Anniversary, finished third in the Southern California Rugby Division I, and defeated the Pacific Coast #2 seed, Utah Brothers, to advance to the Round of 16. While the players were disappointed about the outcome over the weekend, the reality is that we progressed further this season than last, and were unfortunate to draw a very, very good Glendale side in the bracket.

During the past few seasons the club has begun to rekindle an ongoing rugby tradition of hosting traveling teams from around the globe. This season we hosted Petersham from Australia and Buenos Aires University from Argentina. Not only has hosting international sides from around the world the last few seasons given the club a great test on the field, but spreads the SMRC name globally and has given many of the current squad the itch to tour.

While were on the subject of tours, Golden Dolphin and SMRC legend, Bobby Hacker, is encouraging the club to take three squads (club, 35+, 45+) to Aspen this fall for Ruggerfest. Obviously, we need to get some groundwork laid ahead of time if we are going to honor his urgings. The time is now to make that commitment as Ruggerfest is September 13-16, 2012. It’s hard to think of a better culmination to the clubs 40th season than to bring home some hardware from Aspen.

We had a great influx of young players this season, and seem to have finally broken into the UCLA system. Last season, prop Keaton Nasser was the first UCLA player to trickle down to SMRC in several seasons. This season former All-American’s Pierce Cooley and David Martini, as well as Edwin Luna, Jesus Gullien, and Pierre Mays all joined the squad and saw significant minutes in the clubs three sides. We are looking forward to this relationship continuing to feed experienced players into the Dolphins for years to come.

Again this season we had several high profile crossover athletes join the squad. Garret Nolan, a former offensive lineman at USC, quickly caught on to the basics at lock; and former All-Conference wide receiver and speedster, Shane Morales, from Oregon State got thrown into the deep end, starting on the wing in the first side much of the season. Both join former Santa Monica High School and College football player Chris Clay as recent football to rugby converts.

For the second consecutive season the club fielded three sides on a weekly basis. Dolphin legends Robert Kremer and Aaron Blatt (a 2012 HOF inductee) coached the side. After winning the SCRFU D4 title in ’11 the team moved up to D3 and found it much tougher sledding. The competition is very stiff and the majority of D3 clubs could and should be playing higher, if there weren’t regulations about having to field a minimum of two sides. The Fighting Kelp finished 1-9, but were in most games. Injuries, unavailability and players being called up to the first and second sides made Kremer and Blatt’s jobs even more difficult.

There are a bevy of club events that are upcoming. First up is the Hall of Fame weekend on May 25-27. The Dolphins will be hosting a wine tasting during the summer; we are currently trying to secure our date and location. Dates will also be announced shortly for our annual poker event (late summer) and SMRC Golf Tournament (fall). We look forward to your continued support and stay tuned for for updates.