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|