Image result for usc rugby png logo

Oscar Bashaw 

Club President 

obashaw@usc.edu  

  • Oldest club organization at USC 
    • Teaches the value of success in competitive extracurriculars 
    • Spreading the high-intensity, rapidly growing game of rugby 
    • Developed philanthropic and social functions since establishment  
  • League Participation  
    • PAC 1-A Conference (7’s) 
    • PAC 1-AA Conference (15’s) 
  • All undergraduate students are welcome to play after completing online registrations and waivers @ IMleagues.com 
    • Transfers are also eligible
    • Active roster of 52 players 
  • 15 to 20 games player per full-year season 
  • Ranked No. 44 within Goff Rugby Report’s “Top 50 US Rugby Programs (2016)”
  • Director of Rugby | Dominic Riebli (dominic.riebli@gmail.com
    • President | Oscar Bashaw 
      • (650) 888-0449
    • Recruitment Chair | Zachary Elgart
      • (561) 251-6209
    • Head 15s Coach | Wayne Parillon 
      • (424) 302-2569
    • Head 7s Coach | Steven Stagg 
  • Necessary equipment: 
    • Mouthguard 
    • Soccer/American football cleats
    • Compression shorts 
    • Scrum cap (opt.)
    • Foam roller (opt.) 
    • Athletic wrap (opt.) 
    • Tackle bags and scrum machines provided by USC Rugby
  • Two-hour practices are held on: 
    • Tuesday 8-10 p.m. @ Cromwell Field
    • Wednesday 6-8 p.m. @ Cromwell Field 
    • Friday 5-6 p.m.  @ Brittingham Field

For more information, please navigate to our website at https://usctrojanrugby.org/ 

Image result for usc rugby png logo

Oscar Bashaw 

Club President 

obashaw@usc.edu  

(650) 888-0449

Q1: How was rugby invented?    

In 1823, during a game of school football in the town of Rugby, England, a young man named William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran towards the opposition’s goal line. Two centuries later, rugby has evolved into one of the world’s most popular sports, with millions of people playing, watching and enjoying the game. Rugby culture is best defined by the values of discipline, control and mutual self-respect. 

Q2: What do you need to play rugby? 

At the bare minimum, players will need a sturdy pair of cleats that are appropriate for both natural ground and artificial turf. A mouth guard is also required to protect the teeth and jaw. In addition, some players choose to wear approved headgear (e.g. scrum caps) and/or padded equipment, worn under the shirt.

Q3: What are the dimensions of a rugby pitch? 

A rugby pitch is typically between 94 to 100 meters long and between 68 to 70 meters wide. The length is from try line to try line and does not include the dead ball area beyond the try line, which can be 10 to 22 meters deep.

Q4: What is the points system in rugby? 

You can score different numbers of points depending on what you do in the game.

Try (5 points): A try is scored when the ball is grounded over the opponents’ goal line in the in-goal area. A penalty try can be awarded if a player would have scored a try but for foul play by the opposition.

Conversion (2 points): After scoring a try, that team can attempt to add two further points by kicking the ball over the crossbar and between the posts from a place in line with where the try was scored.

Penalty (3 points): When awarded a penalty after an infringement by the opposition, a team may choose to kick at goal.

Drop Goal (3 points): A drop goal is scored when a player kicks for goal in open play by dropping the ball onto the ground and kicking it on the half-volley.

Q5: I am physically small for my age – can I still play? 

Rugby is a game for all shapes and sizes; this is one of the sport’s main strengths and attractive points. The sum of a team’s parts is always greater than any one individual. 

In rugby there are forwards, whose responsibility is generally to win the ball from the opposition and compete at most of the more contact-driven areas such as the scrum, the lineout, the ruck and the maul. Forwards tend to be heavier, more powerful players. It also helps for them to be taller in order to win the ball at the lineout and the restart.

There are also backs, who tend to be quicker so that they can take advantage of the space created by the forwards’ hard work. Backs are players who need to be better at passing, kicking, strategizing and simply running the ball. 

It should be noted that there are also non-contact forms of rugby such as touch and tag. 

Q6: Why can you only pass backwards in rugby? 

In rugby, you need to carry the ball forwards over the opponents’ goal line, forcing it to the ground to score. A player may pass to a teammate who is in a better position to continue the attack, but the pass must not travel towards the opposing team’s goal line. It must travel either directly across the field or back in the direction of the passer’s own goal line. 

By carrying the ball forwards and passing backwards, territory is gained. Passing backwards also allows attacking players to prepare for incoming contact, effectively reducing the risk of injury. If a forward pass is made, the referee will stop the game and award a scrum with the throw-in going to the team that was not in possession. The ball can be kicked forwards, but even then the kicker’s teammates must be behind the ball at the moment the ball is kicked.

These rules create a need for sound teamwork and great discipline; there is only so much that can be achieved by one individual player. Only by working as a unit can players move the ball forward towards their opponents’ goal line and eventually go on to win the game. 

Q7: What is the difference between a tackle, ruck and maul? 

It is important to distinguish between these terms, as they often happen in quick succession. 

Tackle: Only the ball-carrier can be tackled by an opposing player. A tackle occurs when the ball carrier is held by one or more opponents and is brought to ground, has one or both knees on the ground, is sitting on the ground or is on top of another player who is on the ground. To maintain the continuity of the game, the ball carrier must release the ball immediately after the tackle, the tackler must release the ball carrier and both players must roll away from the ball. This allows other players to come in and contest for the ball, thereby starting a new phase of play.

Ruck: A ruck is formed if the ball is on the ground and one or more players from each team who are on their feet close around it. Players must not handle the ball in the ruck, and must use their feet to move the ball or drive over it so that it emerges at the team’s hindmost foot, at which point it can be picked up.

Maul: A maul occurs when the ball carrier is held by one or more opponents and one or more of the ball carrier’s team mates binds as well (a maul therefore needs a minimum of three players). The ball must be off the ground. The team in possession of the ball can attempt to gain territory by driving their opponents back towards the opponents’ goal line. The ball can then be passed backwards between players in the maul and eventually passed to a player who is not in the maul. Alternatively, a player can leave the maul while carrying the ball and run with it.

Q8: How does offside work in rugby? 

Rugby’s offside law restricts where players can be on the field. This ensures there is space to attack and defend. In general, a player is in an offside position if said player is further forward (closer to the opponents’ goal line) than the teammate who is carrying the ball or the teammate who last played the ball. Being in an offside position is not an offence, but an offside player may not take part in the game until they are onside again. If an offside player takes part in the game, that player will be penalised.

Q9: How does USC Rugby ensure the safety and wellbeing of its players?

All games and practices are staffed with trained medical personnel who maintain students as their first priority. Registered players are also required to complete a baseline concussion test before participating in league matches. To further manage the risk of injury, USC Rugby has also employed sports chiropractor/physician Dr. Coree Levy (www.drcoreelevy.com). 

The USC Rugby Football Club (USCRFC) is the official men’s rugby team of the University of Southern California. Over time, the program has adopted more colloquial names such as USC Rugby or Trojans Rugby. The team was founded all the way in 1886 when a British professor on tenure brought the game to campus. Today, rugby is one of the largest and most competitive Tier-1 club sports at USC.

USC Rugby prides itself upon breeding strong, intelligent, and enthusiastic student-athletes who execute both on and off the playing field. Two-hour practices are held throughout the school week, while weekends are reserved for travel and matches. 

Trojan Rugby participates in the Division I-A PAC Rugby Conference. In the fall, the Trojans compete in prestigious seven-a-side (7’s) tournaments such as the PAC 12 Rugby 7’s and the West Coast Rugby 7’s. The Trojans play Rugby Union (15’s) conference games in the spring against schools like Arizona, Cal, Stanford, UCLA, University of Arizona, and Utah. The team also appears in preseason 15’s games with local colleges.  

From 1988 to 2014, the men’s squad was coached by alumnus Dave Lytle, who represented USCRFC from 1983 to 1986. In 2015, USC Rugby introduced Dominic Riebli as Director of Rugby and Laloa Milford, a former Samoan national, as the new head coach. In Milford’s first year, the Trojans finished second in the general conference and was invited to the D1-AA national playoffs. Currently, the roster is jointly coached by Steven Stagg, Head 7’s Coach, and Wayne Parillon, Head 15’s Coach. 

  • 2005 Division Champions
  • 2009 Undefeated Division and Regional Champion
Fall Semester 2017 71 instructional days
Open Registration Mon-Fri August 14-18
Move-In Wed August 16
Classes Begin Mon August 21
Labor Day Mon September 4
Thanksgiving Holiday Wed-Sun November 22-26
Classes End Fri December 1
Study Days Sat-Tue December 2-5
Exams Wed-Wed December 6-13
Winter Recess Thu-Sun December 14 – January 8
Spring Semester 2018 73 instructional days
Open Registration Thu-Fri January 4-5
Classes Begin Mon January 8
Martin Luther King’s Birthday Mon January 15
President’s Day Mon February 19
Spring Recess Sun-Sun March 11-18
Classes End Fri April 27
Study Days Sat-Tue April 28-May 1
Exams Wed-Wed May 2-9
Commencement Fri May 11
Summer Session 2018 58 instructional days
Registration Mon-Tue May 14-15
Classes Begin Wed May 16
Memorial Day Mon May 28
Independence Day Wed July 4
Classes End Tue August 7

(Phoenix, AZ) For the second consecutive week the University of Southern California Trojans Rugby Club made a trip out to Arizona, this time to take on Arizona State University. Unfortunately for the visitors, they came away with a similar result to the previous week, falling 24-47 to the Sun Devils.

The teams knocked-on through the first five minutes of play before ASU scored their first of eight tries. USC failed to find touch on a penalty kick by the narrowest of margins. Sun Devil flanker Joseph Banaga deflected the ball back into play before it crossed the out-of-bounds line. From the bounce, flyhalf Alex Walsh kicked the ball forward. Winger Kyson Jester gathered it and streaked the length of the field for an impressive score. Walsh converted the extras and added a penalty 5 minutes later. 0-10 ASU after 12 minutes.

The Trojans took their only lead of the match within the next few minutes after a couple of quick-strike scores. After Walsh’s penalty kick, ASU failed to clear their zone on the ensuing kick-off; giving USC the ball inside the 22-meter mark. After playing tight through the forwards, scrumhalf Guido Scassellati passed out to flyhalf Adam Bushell, who found center Mitch Suzuki running an outside line that put him through a gap. Suzuki pinned his ears back and raced into the corner for a try. ASU retained possession of the next kick-off but an errant pass from Cody Canann bounced around the midfield, where USC’s Bushell toed it ahead. The Canadian flyer raced past fullback Jester and dotted down under the posts. Bushell converted his own, making it 12-10 USC.

From there, things steadied for ASU while the Trojans’ penalty count continued to climb. Having seen enough infringements around the ruck, the referee finally issued a yellow card to Wing Namdie Ahazie in the 26th minute for not rolling away. Playing up a man, the Sun Devils would cross the line three times within a 10-minute span. Walsh converted one of the tries, taking the score to 12-27 at the half.

Said Head Coach Loa Milford, “The penalties and the set-piece absolutely killed us today. ASU exercised discipline and executed on specific phases of the game where they overmatched us. In open play, we defended very well…made our tackles…but they kept grinding out penalties, kicked-to-touch, and mauling over for multiple scores. We simply didn’t have the answers there.”

In the 45th minute from a USC lineout at midfield, ASU failed to match numbers. From the free kick, Trojans flanker Michael Cesar broke through the line before getting tackled at the 22. The forward pack continued to gain ground through a series of pick-and-drives. Having sucked the defense in toward the tackle area, scrumhalf Scassaletti dished to Bushell, who found outside Center Dimitry Veremeenko running a cutback line. Veremeenko was nearly away if not for an ankle tackle. The forwards went back to work, keeping the ball in tight; once again sucking in defenders. From 5-meters out, Scassaletti popped to Bushell, who crashed over for the try. The USC flyhalf converted again, bringing the Trojans to within striking distance at 19-27.

But that is as close as affairs would get. In the 57th minute, Veremeenko received a yellow card for a high tackle. From the penalty and line-out, the Sun Devils mauled over the line. 19-32 ASU.

On the next kick-off, replacement lock Bryant Young received a yellow card for taking the opposing player out in the air. Now down to 13-men, the Trojans proved powerless to hold the Sun Devils out as Jester notched his second and reserve flanker Oscar OckoMichalak got his first. ASU completed their try-fest when reserve prop Colin Clancy dove over on a driving maul. USC salvaged a last-minute try that culminated in 8-man Luc Desroches dragging a defender over the line for a score. 24-47 Final to ASU.

In summarizing the game, Milford said, “Coming out of the UofA match, we worked on the weaknesses the Wildcats exposed and certainly improved in those areas. However, this ASU match revealed an entirely different set of vulnerabilities that we will address this week and moving forward. As Dominic (Riebli – Director of Rugby) has said from the beginning, each game represents a benchmark for our development. We improved week-over-week but still came away with the same result. However, I don’t think the final score line reflected the entirety of the effort. If I have my data correct, ASU scored 32 points while playing with a one- or two- man advantage. We just killed ourselves with the penalties. Our sinbins were a function of our match fitness and the result of the pressure that the Sun Devils put us under. We’ve simply got to do better.

“This move to PAC Rugby continues to serve as a reminder of just how far we have to go as a program. In relation to last year (playing D1-AA), the precision of execution has increased ten-fold. We obviously expected the massive jump in competition; it really shows the difference not just in terms of overall athleticism, but also the advantages of playing in a varsity-type environment. These programs that we compete against all train most days per week. For us…we’re just transitioning to that model and learning how to make it work for the student-athlete. The growing pains are certainly there but we’re exceptionally grateful to experience them.”

The Trojans will play their first local contest this weekend, serving as the opening match for the UCLA/Utah game. USC kicks-off at 11am this Saturday against University of Utah’s JV squad in Westwood at UCLA’s North Athletic Field.

Fight On!

You can find the official D1A rugby release here

(Tucson, AZ) After a tumultuous Fall and pre-season that saw them log zero playing time before participating in our first ever PAC Rugby Conference match, the University of Southern California Trojans Rugby Club lost to the University of Arizona’s Junior Varsity squad by a final of 29-44.

Things started ominously for the Trojans as the Wildcats scored two tries in the opening quarter or play. Flyhalf Adam Bushell got USC on the board in the 18th minute with a penalty kick but Arizona responded with a long break and their third try of the half, 3-17. Openside flanker Michael Cesar made an excellent line break in the midfield and streaked through the defense to score under the posts in the 35th minute. Bushell converted the extras, bringing the contest to within one score at 10-17 midway through the affair.

Arizona opened the second half in the same manner as the first, scoring two more tries against a somewhat listless USC defense. Prop Kian Azizirad got the Trojans back to within striking distance in the 52nd minute on a well-worked series of pick-and-drives, 17-27 with a quarter to play. Unfortunately, that’s as close as things would get as the Wildcats scored three more times before Cesar responded with two late tries of his own.

Said Coach Zac Winter, “We definitely looked like a team that hadn’t played a game of rugby yet. The match fitness certainly wasn’t there. It’s difficult to simulate that type of endurance and intensity and we obviously would’ve benefitted greatly from getting some game time before now.” (USC’s originally scheduled preseason got upended by a series of cancelations and rainouts.)

“Fortunately, we can address the various areas of deficiency and hopefully give a better performance next weekend. As a team, we’re simply not all there. We had some brilliant individual efforts from Adam (Bushell), Michael (Cesar) and Luc (Desroches) but our team IQ at this stage is quite lacking. We don’t have the kind of depth or assets available to where we can afford to function as disparate units.”

“Coming into this competition, we knew every week represented an unprecedented challenge for us,” said Director of Rugby Dominic Riebli. “Each contest sets a benchmark against which we can measure our program. UofA has a program we can only aspire to at this time. Their roster size is 3x ours, their facilities are top notch, and their coaching staff is first rate. (UofA Head Coach) Sean Duffy has done amazing things here. Even though we played his reserve side, we knew that we had a tall order in front of us. Given the circumstances, the coaching staff expected a rough beginning but we had hoped for a better result. We’ll get back after it on Monday and prepare for ASU.”

The Trojans travel back out to Arizona this weekend to take-on Arizona State University. Kick-off is slated for 1pm at ASU Poly Field.

Fight On!

You can find the match video here

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Breakout Team of the Year: University of Southern California. Long the “yeah but” team of the PAC-12, as in “it would be great to have a full-on PAC-12 conference, right?” “Yeah, but USC would have a really, really tough time.” Not anymore. The Trojans have a strong coaching staff and are getting more players and more athletes involved. They made the national playoffs in DIAA, something that would have been unheard of not that long ago.

Full article here

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Fall Semester 2016 71 instructional days
Open Registration Mon-Fri August 15-19
Move-In Wed August 17
Classes Begin Mon August 22
Labor Day Mon September 5
Thanksgiving Wed-Sun November 23-27
Classes End Fri December 2
Study Days Sat-Tue December 3-6
Exams Wed-Wed December 7-14
Winter Recess Thu-Sun December 15-January 8
Spring Semester 2017 73 instructional days
Open Registration Thu-Fri January 5-6
Classes Begin Mon January 9
Martin Luther King’s Birthday Mon January 16
President’s Day Mon February 20
Spring Recess Sun-Sun March 12-19
Classes End Fri April 28
Study Days Sat-Tue April 29-May 2
Exams Wed-Wed May 3-10
Commencement Fri May 12
Summer Semester 2017 57 instructional days
Registration Mon-Tue May 15-16
Classes Begin Wed May 17
Memorial Day Mon May 29
Independence Day Mon-Tue July 3-4
Classes End Tue August 8

By Adam Bushell

This past Saturday marked the end of the Trojans’ 2016 season with a loss at UC Davis in the first round of the D1AA National Championship. UC Davis are the current holders of the championship title and fielded a thrillingly competitive side to go up against USC. The Trojans showed sparks of being able to compete with last season’s best, and perhaps if the side had been at their best their fate may have been different. But it was not their day, and USC’s first visit to Nationals in recent memory was cut short. UCD outran, outplayed, and outcompeted the Trojans and the Aggies’ victory was well deserved.

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Losing a tough fight after a long season will always be disappointing; any team with competitive spirit can attest to this. But the Trojans must not lament over their losses. Instead, the past season’s strides must be put into perspective. The team turned two wins and four losses in 2015 into five wins and one loss in the 2016 regular season, going on to win in the semi-finals of the GCCIR playoffs and losing the finals to CSU Long Beach by two points in the last minute of extra time, inevitably earning a spot in the first round of Nationals. This drastic turn around in performance in the span of one year is a major victory in itself. It is the efforts of the entire club, the coaching staff, the medical staff, and the players that must be commended for their achievements this year. In December, as pre-season came to a close and the Sevens players rejoined the Fifteens in training, it became apparent the level of expectations the club had for the upcoming season. It would require focus, tenacity, and drive to achieve the goal of reaching nationals and competing with the best in the division. The Trojan’s displayed just that. The desire to perform has been at a level unseen in years, and now USC Rugby has a season to show for it.

GCCIR 

(W) USC 38-10 UC Irvine

(L) USC 17-24 CSU Long Beach

(W) USC 30-18 USD

(W) USC 31-10 CSU Fullerton

(W) USC 36-24 SBCC

(W) USC 32-31 GCU

GCCIR Playoffs 

Semi-Finals (W) USC 17-12 GCU

Finals (L) USC 36-38 CSU Long Beach

DI-AA Nationals

First Round (L) USC 12-29 UC Davis

The momentum, however, must not stop here. The hard work of key graduating players cannot go to waste. There are two components necessary in USC Rugby’s quest to compete with the best in the nation.

Firstly, the club must continue to reach for bigger and better things and maintain the drive necessary to do so. If the progress made in the span of one season can be replicated in seasons to follow, success will inevitably come. Beyond the skills learned and the strategies implemented, this season’s efforts have established a culture; a culture critical in maintaining winning values long after its current players have left the side.

Secondly, the team must receive the necessary attention from those with power and resources to have an equal opportunity as the competition at hand. As a competitive club sport in a highly renowned university, one would expect the university itself to be the foundation of such support, but as of late this has not been the case. This past month, team was forced to play a semi-final home game at a middle school thirty minutes away, despite a perfectly acceptable field on campus being vacant but that the team was barred from playing on. On top of this, the funding received bi-annually from the university is at a bare minimum relative to other competitive sides in the division. A rugby team needs equipment, field space, a coaching staff, a medical staff, transportation, and other costly components. Fundraising can only achieve so much.

I do concede that the level of competition over the past decade has not been where it has needed to be in order to earn the heightened attention from the university. In addition, establishing a competitive reputation for a team takes time and consistent results. However, with the performance displayed this past year, the club’s position within the university’s recreational sport department must be revised. There must be greater representation for the club to achieve their goals and bureaucratic lag cannot stand in the way of the team’s success.

The past season has established what will hopefully be a bright future for USC Rugby. Refinements for next season will begin almost immediately with the election of a new student E-Board this coming Thursday.

We say thank you to our graduating players:

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                         Joseph Krassenstein (Center)           Jonny So (President, Lock)                             Luis Lopez (Prop)

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                                                   Nick Banks (Vice President, Prop)                    Jeff Stratford (Prop)

We would also like to thank those who generously contributed to all our fundraising campaigns over the past year and encourage you to stay connected via our Facebook page. This season would not have been possible without you. 

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Fight On.