Category: News

Clayton to Host Carolinas Development Camp

CLAYTON, NC – For the second consecutive year, the Clayton Rugby Football Club is proud to team up with the Carolinas Geographic Rugby Union to host a Player and Coaching Development Camp. The camp, scheduled for August 19-20 in Clayton, is for men’s and women’s players and coaches from clubs throughout the Carolinas. This year, the club is excited to bring in Chris Brown to lead the two-day camp. Based out of the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Brown is the USA’s Olympic 7s Lead Residency Coach, Head of Physical Performance for USA Rugby, and Assistant Coach for the USA 7s Men’s squad. Brown played a vital role in the USA Men’s highest ever finish on the Sevens World Series this past season. 

“I’m really looking forward to spending a couple of days in North Carolina,” said Brown. “I hope to share as much knowledge and coaching detail as I can with the Carolinas rugby community to ensure they come away with a clear understanding of the holistic requirements of coaching, being a top level rugby player and giving quality insight into the tools required to see significant progression.”

The two day camp is part of a greater emphasis from the CGRU on investing in the development of coaches and players. The camp starts with an on the pitch coaching session on fundamental skill development. The coaching session is followed by small group sessions for men’s and women’s players that focus on skill development and skills/conditioning games.

“Coaching development is one of our highest priorities,” said CGRU President Simone Bontly. “We need better coaches to create better players. It is important that we continue to provide the opportunities for our coaches and players to grow.”

Campers are then invited for a Saturday night social session and presentation by Brown that provides insight into the USA Eagles Men’s 7s rugby environment. That presentation is followed by a session on Holistic Planning and Preparation for coaches. The group ends the evening with a Q & A session, dinner, and social time. Sunday brings a new element to the Development Camp as the Carolinas Rugby Union and Clayton RFC are opening up room for local High School players to have a session with Brown. A limited number of places are being made available to high school players with a focus on upperclassmen that are planning to pursue rugby at the collegiate level.

“We are beyond excited to have Chris join us this year,” said Clayton RFC President Ted Hardy. “His approach is exactly what we were looking for when we bring in guest coaches. We are also extremely fortunate to have the CGRU support this camp and the development of coaches and players from around the Carolinas.”

This year’s Carolinas Player Development Camp will, once again, be hosted at East Clayton Community Park in Clayton, North Carolina. Coaches, both youth and adult club level, are free to attend. The fee for Players, that are registered with clubs in the CGRU, is $20 per player. The registration fee for High School Players is $30. The registration include a camp t-shirt and water during the camp.

Spaces are limited, so pre-registration is required to guarantee your space.

To register, please follow the link below. 

Player & Coaching Development Camp

Bootleggers Finish 2nd at Moonshine 7s

RALEIGH, NC – On Saturday night, the Bootlegger’s 7s squad made the short trip to Raleigh to take part in the Moonshine 7s hosted by the Raleigh RFC. Last season, the men from Clayton won the Bowl competition at the tournament. After a confident start to their 7s season, the Bootleggers looked to improve on their finish at last year’s event. They did just that as the Bootleggers finished second in the tournament after falling in the Championship to the Rattlesnakes Alumni team.

The Bootleggers opened up pool play with a narrow 17-12 victory over New Bern. Matt Aronowitz scored two tries to lead the offense. DJ Johnson scored and converted a try to close out the scoring for the squad. Next up, the Bootleggers took on a team of Raleigh Backs, dubbed Tan & Handsome. The Bootleggers used a stout defense to keep Raleigh in check and they pulled out a 19-7 win. Nick Russell, Connell Smallwood, and Brendan Fitzpatrick each added tries for the Bootleggers with Russell and Fitzpatrick adding the conversions.

The Bootleggers finished pool play by taking on NC State to determine the top seed coming out of pool play. Clayton struggled to maintain shape as they fell to the Wolfpack 24-17. Even after the loss, the squad’s two earlier wins were enough to put them into the semifinals where they, once again, faced off against NC State. This time around, the Bootleggers found their groove as they got revenge on the Wolfpack with a 24-10 win. Gareth Davies, Chris Crumity, Johnson, and Aronowitz each scored tries in the semifinal victory.

“Our guys showed up to play. We came out with two solid wins in pool play before a tough loss to NC State,” said Clayton 7s Head Coach Jason Niemiller. “We quickly regrouped and came out strong in the semifinal and never let up.”

The win placed the Bootleggers in the Championship against a talented Rattlesnake Alumni team. The Rattlesnakes came out and pushed the tempo of the match early. They took the lead and the Bootleggers were left to chase a lead that they never caught  as the Rattlesnakes took home the Championship.

“The Rattlesnakes were a quality side. They took an early lead on us in the finals and kept pushing,” added Niemiller. “We played hard, but in the end we couldn’t close the gap.”

Overall, it was another solid showing for a Clayton 7s side that is slowly developing into a consistent performer among 7s sides in the Carolinas.

“I’m real proud of the way everyone played and supported us,” said Niemiller. “We took out a large roster, so it was hard finding balance in getting everyone quality playing time, but everyone was great.”

The Bootleggers continue their 7s season with a number of tournaments lined up in July, including the 2nd Annual CottonTown 7s hosted by the Clayton RFC. Stay tuned for reports as the team continues their season and pushes to bring more hardware back to Clayton.

Clayton Names Award Winners

CLAYTON, NC – This past weekend, the Clayton Rugby Football Club hosted their annual End of Season Banquet and Awards Presentation for their members, families, and fans. As part of the festivities, the club presented a number of awards to players, coaches, and admin staff for their performances during the 2016/2017 playing season. The Clayton RFC is proud to carry on their traditional awards while also creating new awards.

Most Valuable Forward – Gareth Davies, No. 8

Davies had a banner season leading the 1st XV in tries scored with eight on the season. Appearing in 11 matches for the 1st Team, Davies provided a strong offensive presence from No. 8 as one of the club’s most active offensive players. The eight tries brings Davies’ career total up to 19 for the Bootleggers

Most Valuable Back – Nick Russell, Center/Fullback

Having joined the Clayton RFC at the beginning of the Fall season, the New Zealand native immediately made an impact on the backline with his clean lines and leadership. Despite a mid-season injury, Russell appeared in eight matches for the 1st XV this season and was tied for 3rd on the team with five tries scored.

Rookie of the Year – Travis Morrison, Lock

Morrison joined the club in the Spring of 2016, but played his first full season in 2016/2017. An imposing figure on the pitch, Morrison made huge strides this past season and became more active on the offensive side of the ball. Headed into the upcoming playing season, Morrison is expected to have a break out season with more experience under his belt.

Coach’s Award – Joe Spinnati, Wing/Fullback

This season is the first time the club has presented this award as it was given by Bootlegger’s Head Coach Rich Munro. Spinnati took home this first-time award after bouncing back from a broken arm in the Fall to work his way into the 1st XV lineup during the Spring season.

“Joe got injured during his first match in the Fall and it would have been easy for him to shut it down for the season,” said Munro. “He worked hard, continued to come to training, and finished the season strong giving us some good minutes in the backline.”

Davies’ Award – Ted Hardy, Club President

This non-annual award is presented to the club member that goes above and beyond in their service to the Clayton RFC. Club Board Member and award namesake Philip Davies presented the award to a surprised Club President Ted Hardy. Hardy has played a large role in the growth of the sport of rugby in Johnston County and continues to be a driving force as the club pushes towards the groundbreaking at their new facility.

Head Coach Rich Munro was also presented with a signed ball from the players for his continued dedication and service to the Clayton RFC. One of the hardest working men in rugby, Munro not only coaches the Bootleggers, but also finds time to coach Middle School rugby and is a constant presence at club functions and community outreach events.