Category: News

Clayton Releases 2018/2019 Schedule

CLAYTON, North Carolina – The Clayton Rugby Football has released their 2018/2019 Men’s 1st XV and Men’s 2nd XV schedules with play kicking off later in September. The Bootleggers face a tough schedule this coming season as they take on the challenge of fielding teams in two separate divisions (D3 and D4). The club is one of only two teams in the Carolinas fielding teams in two divisions. Both sides enter the season with hopes to challenge for their respective division titles and players have stepped up to the plate.

“We’ve had a great summer of recruiting,” said Clayton RFC head coach Rich Munro. “Numbers at practice have been great. We’ve added some real impact players. Guys are going to have to compete for match time in the 1st XV and we have a lot more depth than in the past.”

The 1st XV aim to make a return trip to the Carolinas Rugby Union playoffs, but have a tough road ahead of them. The Carolinas have merged their D3 East and West Divisions into a single division format. Each of the nine teams in D3 will play each other once for a total of eight games. The Bootleggers have two key matches at home in the fall against reigning Carolinas D3 Champs Asheville, whom knocked the Bootleggers out of the playoffs last season. They also play host to Columbia as the two clubs meet for the first time ever in XVs. Away matches against Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune bookend the fall portion of the Bootleggers’ D3 schedule. The squad faces two tough road matches at the Charlotte Barbarians and Triad to start the second half of the season. They finish with Raleigh D3 and Cape Fear at home. Every D3 match is expected to be a tough contest and getting back to the playoffs will be no small task.

Mixed in the middle of the season is a return to the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Tournament for the Bootleggers after a year’s absence.

“I’m excited for the upcoming season and can’t wait to get into conference play,” said new club Captain Gareth Davies. “We’ve added some key players to our roster that can help push us to the next level. I’m proud of the effort the guys are putting in at training to prepare for the start of matrix play. I can’t wait to see the work pay off on the pitch.”

The Clayton 2nd XV returns to D4 and face a six match league schedule this coming season. With only four teams in D4 this season, the club is playing each other the other teams in a home/away format. Lined up for this season is New Bern, Southern Pines B, and newcomers to men’s club rugby the Raleigh Redhawks. The Redhawks have been a powerhouse at the youth level for a number of years and have expanded their club to include a U23/Men’s team. The Bootleggers’ 2nd XV remains a developmental side, but with the depth added to the club a number of experienced players should see game time with the 2nd XV this season which should help with the development of new players and improve play on the pitch. The 2nd XV will also play a handful of friendly matches throughout the season to round out their schedule.

The Bootleggers 2nd XV kicks off D4 play on September 22nd against New Bern while the 1st XV opens up their D3 account on October 6th at Fort Bragg.

Date 1st XV 2nd XV
August 25, 2018 at ECU (scrimmage)
September 1, 2018 Tobacco Road (scrimmage)
September 22, 2018 TBA New Bern
September 29, 2018 Black/Gold Scrimmage
October 6, 2018 at Fort Bragg at Fort Bragg B
October 13, 2018 at SoPi D4
October 20, 2018 Asheville Redhawks U23
November 3, 2018 Columbia Wake Tech
November 17, 2018 at Camp Lejeune
February 9, 2019 at Charlotte Barbarians TBA
February 16, 2019 at Triad TBA
March 2, 2019 at Redhawks U23
March 9, 2019 Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Tournament
March 16, 2019 New Bern
March 23, 2019 Raleigh D3 TBA
April 6, 2019 Cape Fear SoPi D4
April 13, 2019 CGRU Playoffs
April 27, 2019 CGRU Championship
May 4-5, 2019 South Championship

Bootleggers Win Blackbeard 7s

ATLANTIC BEACH, North Carolina – It wasn’t the traditional setting for a rugby tournament, but the beach played a big role this past Saturday as the Blackbeard 7s Beach US Open Rugby Championship took place on Atlantic Beach. Founded in 2011 by Brian Whalen, the Blackbeard 7s brings together teams from far and wide to play rugby in the sand. This year marked a transition for the event as the Clayton Rugby Football Club took over as hosts for Blackbeard.

“This event has always been near and dear to our club,” said Clayton RFC President Ted Hardy. “This event has so much potential. It’s hard to beat the ocean as a backdrop for a tournament and Blackbeard is a great way to close out the 7s season. We’re looking forward to building upon the success that Blackbeard has already achieved.”

This year, teams from throughout the Carolinas turned out to compete for the Men’s and Women’s Divisions titles. At the end of a fun, but hard, day of rugby only two sides were left standing. Camp Lejeune won the Women’s Division while the host’s took home their third Blackbeard title in the past four years. Lejeune steamrolled opponents throughout the day before facing off against the Majestic Unicorns touring side out of South Carolina. After a back and forth first half, Lejeune pulled away in the second half to win 29-22 and claim the Blackbeard title.

The Bootleggers had a similar path as they rolled into the championship where they faced off against Fort Bragg. The Bootleggers stormed out to an early lead, but Fort Bragg came storming back in the second half. The lead proved insurmountable as the Bootleggers were victorious by a score of 31-19. The Wombats, Clayton’s Old Boys team, finished in 3rd place while the Baby Wombats (young Bootleggers) placed 5th.

Blackbeard closes out a busy summer for the Bootleggers who hosted two tournaments and played in a total of five tournaments. The club now starts into pre-season training for the 2018/2019 XVs season.

Plans have already begun for the 2019 Blackbeard Beach 7s as the Clayton RFC plans to grow the event into one of the go-to social tournaments on the East Coast.

“We have such beautiful beaches and entertainment here along the North Carolina coast. We have no doubt that Blackbeard can become a destination tournament,” added Hardy. “Carrying on the Blackbeard legacy means a lot to us. We were honored that Brian approached us to host the tournament. We’re going to do our best to carry on the tradition and provide a great tournament to close out 7s season.”

Blackbeard 7s founder Brian Whalen agrees, “The future looks bright for Blackbeard 7s Beach US Open Rugby Championship Tournament. Thank You Clayton Bootleggers Rugby Football Club for a job well done!”

Stay tuned for more information on the 2019 Blackbeard 7s Beach US Open Rugby Championship. Tournament dates and registration will be announced around the New Year. The Clayton RFC plans to expand the tournament field and hopes to add an Old Boys Division next year.

Davies Named New Club Captain

CLAYTON, NC – It’s been a busy summer for the Clayton Rugby Football Club. Coming off of their first playoff appearance in club history, the club jumped into a busy summer that included the ongoing development of the Johnston County Rugby Park, the CottonTown 7s Rugby Festival, and taking over hosting of the Blackbeard Beach Rugby Tournament. Not overlooked during that spell was the fact that Simon Potter, the club’s first Club Captain, stepped down from his Captain duties at the end of the spring season. Since taking over as Club Captain in the fall of 2014, Potter Captained the club 26 times on the pitch while serving as a vital bridge between the playing members and the club’s Board of Directors.

Potter led the Bootleggers in their short transformation from a brand new social club into playoff side. He plans to remain in a playing and leadership role with the club, but has turned over the reigns on the Club Captaincy.

“We can’t thank Simon enough for his time and effort as our Club Captain,” said Club President Ted Hardy. “He stuck it out during our lean early years and believed in what we were trying to accomplish as a club. We’re sad to have to replace him, but excited about the prospect of handing things over to a player that stands to play a large role in the future of our club.”

With Potter stepping away, the Clayton RFC’s Board of Directors has named Gareth Davies as the new Club Captain. Davies has been with the club since it’s inception, participating in the very first practice, and in the club’s first-ever match. Despite missing a chunk of two seasons while playing at ECU, Davies has appeared in 38 matches for the Bootleggers scoring a club high 30 tries.

“I am honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to fulfill the duty as captain,” said Davies. “This club means the world to me and I’m excited for the bright future that lies ahead. We have come a long way in these short few years and continue to make more and more progress each season.

Davies has big shoes to fill replacing Potter, but the exiting Captain has high hopes for him.

“I’m delighted Gareth has been named Club Captain for the upcoming season,” said Potter. “Gareth understands the underlying core values our club represents, and has been a leader within our group of players from the beginning. He deservedly now has the opportunity to step up and take a more prominent role as the club moves forward. If Gareth can match his leadership skills with his outstanding playing ability,  I’m confident our club will continue along the right track!”

Davies was bullish about the upcoming season and the future of the Clayton RFC.

“As long as we continue to get players to buy into the process and maintain a strong work ethic, we will continue to see success on and off the pitch,” added Davies. “Our core values are not only a backbone to our team but also to our community. There is no doubt in my mind that we will continue to grow into a powerhouse club in the near future.”

The Clayton Rugby Football Club is preparing for the start of pre-season training in August and they return to the pitch in late September as they start off their 2018/2019 playing season. The club currently fields two teams with the 1st XV playing in Division 3 of the Carolinas Rugby Union and the 2nd XV playing Division 4. The club is also working on building a U23 side and finding competition for their Old Boys team.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Clayton Rugby Football Club or if you’re interested in playing, please contact the club via email at info@claytonrfc.com