CLAYTON, NC – While the Bootleggers took a bit of a break over the Summer, if you call 7s season a break, the Club’s Board of Directors were busy behind the scenes shaping and developing one of the biggest opportunities in the young club’s history. In order to continue their progress both on and off the field, the Clayton Rugby Football Club have developed a relationship with the Managing Director of one of the top professional clubs in Europe. Looking for ways to further improve club administration, operations, and coaching the Bootleggers reached out to a handful of clubs, both in the USA and abroad. The inquiries led to the Clayton RFC entering into conversations with Nathan Bombrys, Managing Director of the Glasgow Warriors of the Guinness PRO 12. Over the course of the past few months, Board Members from Clayton have been in a ongoing discussions with Bombrys about a multi-faceted plan to improve the Bootleggers operations and help the Warriors gain access to opportunities in the USA.
“We’re a young club that still has a long way to go, but we feel as if we have an opportunity to create something very special,” said Clayton RFC President Ted Hardy. “It’s not just about winning matches, but about being able to offer the best experience possible for our players, their families, our coaches, and our administrative staff. We want to create a culture and environment that makes our Club an attractive option for all types of players. As long as we’re accomplishing these goals, winning will take care of itself.”
“We’re certainly not afraid to aim high and we did that when reaching out to Glasgow. It was a shot in the dark, so we are extremely flattered and honored that Nathan saw something in us and provided us this opportunity.”
Bombrys was born in Michigan and played rugby at Syracuse before moving overseas where he was immersed in rugby culture. He went on to work for multiple teams, including the the Sale Sharks and Scottish Rugby Union, before taking his current role with the Warriors in 2011. Since joining Glasgow, Bombrys has helped turn the Warriors into one of the top clubs in Europe. The Warriors have finished in the Top 4 in the PRO 12 every year since 2012, including winning the their first PRO 12 Championship in 2015. The team opened up their PRO 12 season this past weekend with a convincing 41-5 win over defending champs Connacht.
“Nathan has been incredibly generous with his time and knowledge,” said Hardy. “Despite being a professional club, the Warriors maintain a strong connection to the spirit of rugby. Their club places a high emphasis on a family friendly culture and keeping things fun for their players and staff. They are also highly active in their community. All things that are very appealing to us and in line with the culture we’re trying to build here in Clayton. On top of that, they play an entertaining and unselfish style of rugby very similar to what we are attempting to instill into our players.”
As part of the new relationship, the Clayton RFC will receive administrative, business, and coaching mentoring and development opportunities through Bombrys and the Warriors. Staff will meet online quarterly to discuss topics pertaining to rugby operations and coaching. The clubs are also working on an exchange program for coaches and players that could start as soon as 2017 with coaches and staff from both the Bootleggers and Warriors making trips to visit each other. Plans are also taking shape for the Bootleggers to tour to Scotland as part of their pre-season training in 2018.
Gaining access to the Warriors organization is a massive boost for the Bootleggers, but the knowledge and experience that Bombrys brings to the table is the real bonus. As the Bootleggers continue to grow and expand their operations this new relationship with prove to be extremely beneficial. The club hopes to make another big announcement in the next couple of months that will see this connection prove to be even more important.
“The door has been opened,” finished Hardy. “Now it’s on us to make use of this golden opportunity.”
About the Clayton Rugby Football Club
Founded in the Fall of 2013, the Clayton Rugby Football Club is a men’s rugby program located in Johnston County, NC. Since starting with just seven players, the club has grown to almost 50 active players and a growing fan base. The club has a family friendly culture with a focus on community. The Clayton RFC currently fields three teams in XVs with competitive, developmental/social, and Old Boys as well as a 7s team during the Summer. Players looking to learn more about the club or join are encouraged to contact us at [email protected]. No prior experience is necessary and the club welcomes new players at any time during the season.