The Dana Rugby Club is off to a 3-0 start to their 2014 season. Courtesy photo

Compiled by Steve Breazeale

After a breakout inaugural season in 2013, the Dana Rugby Club has picked up where they left off in 2014. The team, which is made up mainly of students from Dana Hills High School but draws players from the surrounding area, is currently 3-0 on the year and will go for a fourth consecutive win on Jan. 2 against Wilson of Long Beach.

After a strong first year in competition that saw them claim their division title, the Dana Rugby Club has doubled their roster size to include 39 players this season. There has also been an addition of a junior varsity squad.

The team opened their season with a 26-22 victory over View Park High School on Dec. 6. The team followed that up with a win over Mira Costa on Dec. 12.

Dana Rugby Club recorded their most dominant win of the season on Dec. 20 after defeating Palos Verdes on the road 62-7.

The team is currently in first-place and remains the only undefeated team in their division.


OC REGISTER: Rugby growing at Dana Hills

Team mom Angela Boone, of Dana Point, shows off what she will serve after the game – chipotle chicken.DAVID BRO, DAVID BRO, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

Dana Rugby roster

Drew FalkSr.

Gabe WahlSr.

Jeffrey LinSr.

Jordan PouchieSr.

Adam PageSr.

Mark StapleySr.

Nash ParkerSr.

Sean LawlessSr.

Ameen MonjeziSr.

Zach LawlessSr.

Tommy ColumbusSr.

Anton GrigoriouJr.

Christian CortezJr.

Eddie WoodJr.

Jaxon BreckenridgeJr.

Juan MorieraJr.

Glen LuttonJr.

Max CarrenJr.

Christopher GabrielSo.

Jacob JarkeySo.

Jarod PochingSo.

JT NolteSo.

Chase WoelfelSo.

Christion PouchieSo.

Dec. 6Def. View Park Prep 26-22

Dec. 12vs. Mira Costa

Dec. 19@ Palos Verdes

Jan. 2@ Wilson

Jan. 9@ Stern MASS

Jan. 16vs. St. John Bosco

Jan. 23BYE

Jan. 30Playoff Quarterfinals

Feb. 7Playoff Semifinals

Feb. 14Finals

For more information,

The Southern California Youth Rugby organization has three classifications for the sport in Southern California.

Blue Division: Developmental division for new programs

White Division: Programs with experience, at least 70 percent of the program’s roster must be from host school

Red Division: Programs whose rosters are 100 percent from the host school

Following in the footsteps of the success gained in its inaugural season, the Dana Rugby Football Club is ready to expand its program and those successes as it moves up a division in the Southern California Youth Rugby organization.

Last season, Dana Rugby went 6-1 in its first season and made it to the championship game of the the organization’s Blue Division, ultimately falling and settling for a 2nd place finish.

This year, the program has moved up to the White Division, which means competition against more experienced programs.

The division allows the program to accept players from different schools, as long as at least 70 percent are from the home school, meaning that of the roster’s 23 players, at least 17 have to attend Dana Hills High.

Since last season, Dana Rugby has expanded from 17 total players to 38. The program has added a junior varsity team and currently has players from San Clemente, San Juan Hills, Trabuco Hills, Aliso Niguel and Tesoro high schools.

“That’s how you grow the sport, you get the younger kids moving up,” Dana Rugby president Laurence Wahl said of adding the JV team. “We have a lot of first year players but that’s okay, they’re learning quickly.”

Wahl’s son Gabriel is one of this year’s returning players and is one of three players, including Drew Falk and Anton Grigoriou, contending for All-American recognition this year.

Last Saturday, the team played at Dana Hills High, its first opportunity to play on a high school turf field and an opportunity for greater exposure amongst peers.

Wahl said that plenty of students walked up to coaches after the game asking if it was still possible to sign up. The sport has gained popularity after it was announced that rugby will be included in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“It’s the fastest growing sport in the U.S.,” Wahl said. “We really wanted to try to bond it to the high school. The kids like it because all their friends can watch them play. There were so many watching who didn’t know about rugby and now they’re interested in playing.”

In addition, Dana Hills football players have also made the transition into rugby. While the two sports are similar, rugby allows all players the opportunity to touch and run with the ball, something not all linemen get the chance to do in football.

“We’re trying to create synergism between the football team and the rugby team because they’re similar sports in different seasons and a lot of football guys can benefit from rugby,” Wahl said. “One of the things we’ve been pitching – the average rugby player runs over 3.5 miles in a game, the average football player runs 0.16 miles. There’s a lot more fitness involved. The linemen in football never touch the ball. Everyone in rugby gets to touch the ball.”

While the growing number of players in the sport is encouraging, Wahl expressed a concern. Because at least 70 percent of Dana Rugby’s athletes have to attend Dana Hills High, many other student athletes who want to get involved in the sport of rugby may not get the chance.

The only other south Orange County program, Tesoro, may not have the 70 percent requirement needed to field a team this year.

In that regard, Wahl hopes to see other high schools begin assembling teams. The two main goals for the program are to add a girls team and see rugby become a CIF-sanctioned sport.

“We would love to add girls rugby to the mix and we would like to eventually be able to make this a CIF sport and get all the rest of the O.C. high schools involved,” Wahl said. “It really gives the kids a world perspective and that’s a positive thing.”


Rugby: Dana Hills, Mira Costa play for title

By Eric Sondheimer, LATIMES – February 12, 2014, 10:32 a.m.

Rugby sevens will be an official sport at the Olympic Games in 2016, and Dana Hills and Mira Costa are getting an early start in learning rugby. They’ve advanced to the championship game of the Southern California championships and will play on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Cathedral High in San Diego for the Blue Division title. Read Full Article


Rugby Club Draws San Clemente and Dana Point Together

 by  on January 16, 2014

The Dana Hills rugby club lines up before taking the field. The team is off to a 4-0 start in their inagural season. Photo by Keith Falk

The sport of rugby is growing rapidly in Southern California and, with a little help from some local figures and passionate high school students, has now arrived at Dana Hills High.

The student-led grass roots movement comes on the tail of news that rugby is going to be a sanctioned sport in the 2016 Summer Olympics. In August, the National Rugby Football League was founded in hopes of spreading the sport nationwide. Read Full Article


Rugby Club Makes its Way Onto Campus at Dana Hills

by  on January 13, 2014

The Dana Hills rugby club lines up before taking the field. The team is off to a 4-0 start in their inagural season. Photo by Keith Falk

Rugby players throughout the school started to get the word out on campus. Once the club received all of the necessary approvals from Southern California Youth Rugby, the sport’s high school governing body, they looked to hire the best coaching staff available and team parents formed a non-profit board. The team is coached by Ian Ibbetson, Matt Tinker, Mike Efthymiou and Sam Pelham. Read Full Article