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Santa Monica Rugby Club

Santa Monica Rugby Club
Full name Santa Monica Rugby Club
Union USA Rugby
Nickname(s) Dolphins
Founded 1972
Location Santa Monica, California, US

Daniel Webster middle school
a.k.a. "The Dolphin Pit"
[11330 Graham Place

Los Angeles, CA 90064]
President Miles Cotton
Coach(es) Vacant
League(s) Pacific Rugby Premiership
Official website

Santa Monica Rugby Club is a rugby union club from Santa Monica, California, United States. The team, known as the Dolphins, competes in the Pacific Rugby Premiership and Division 1 in the Southern California Rugby Football Union (SCRFU). The Pacific Rugby Premiership competition is the top level of club rugby in the United States. SCRFU comprises men’s, women’s, Old Boys, and youth teams, all categories in which Santa Monica Rugby Club fields teams.


  • History 1
  • Players 2
  • Coaches 3
  • Other teams 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The Santa Monica Rugby Club was established in 1972 by rugby graduates of UCLA, USC and St. Mary's College. The club went undefeated in the SCRFU Division I, taking the championships in both the San Diego/OMBAC Tournament and the Monterey National Invitational. Santa Monica have continued their winning ways since their inaugural season in 1972/73, going onto win the SCRFU Division I title five seven times in total. The club has since produced numerous players for national team, some of which have skippered the USA.[1]

The Santa Monica Rugby Club has won the SCRFU Division I league title seven times , captured top spot at the San Diego/OMBAC Tournament seven times , been to the national championships 8 times — winning on five occasions , and won at the Santa Barbara International Tournament .

In 2006, Santa Monica made a third consecutive final four appearance, defeating the Boston Irish Wolfhounds, 57 points to 19 . After the 2006 Super League season an invitation was sent to Santa Monica to join to Super League for the 2007 season. The Board of Directors voted to accept the invitation to join the Rugby Super League. Santa Monica will play in the Western Division. The Boston Irish Wolfhounds also accepted the invitation to join the expanded competition.[2]

Santa Monica and other regional rugby power-houses Belmont Shore RFC (Long Beach, CA) and OMBAC RFC (San Diego) withdrew from the national Rugby Super League competition in favor of a Southern California Division 1 contest that has proven more competitive and cost effective.

Shawn Lipman was selected as MVP of the Santa Monica Rugby Club in seven seasons.


Twenty Santa Monica Rugby Club players have represented the United States in international competition as USA Eagles — three of them captained the national side . Three additional Club players have represented the USA on the World XV. Former Club and USA Eagle captain Craig Sweeney is honored by the Club's Craig Sweeney Fund, tax-deductible contributions go to support the long-term goals of Santa Monica Rugby.

Every year, notable club members from past seasons are honored at the Hall of Fame dinner following the annual Golden Dolphins old boys match on Club Day. The Club's most recent evolution has garnered national attention .

Numerous Eagles and rep side players have dotted the Club's roster over the years. Beginning in 2003, the Club has paired its annual Club Day and Old Boys Game with a Hall of Fame banquet, honoring notables from all decades.


The most recent men's head coach was Greg Commins. Hailing originally from South Africa, Commins joined SMRC after spending two seasons with local rivals Belmont Shore, where he helped guide Belmont Shore to the 2010 club final, and 2011 quarter final (both seasons losing to the eventual National Champion). Commins was unable to better that success at Santa Monica.

Before relocating to Southern California the South African born coach worked at a number of prominent sides throughout Cape Town including Western Province, Villagers RFC and the University of Cape Town RFC. As a player, Commins represented Western Province as a scrumhalf.

The previous coach was Doug Bratcher. A former tighthead prop, Bratcher joined the club in 2000 and earned representative honors in 2001 and 2002, helping the Southern California Griffins to win the a National All-Star Championship in 2002. Bratcher’s Santa Monica Dolphins captured the SoCal title in 2002 and 2003.

Bratcher returned to a team that he assisted in coaching to Division I National Championships in 2005 and 2006. Returning to the sideline after taking a season off to focus on family and career, he oversees all aspects of the men’s program.

After suffering a career-ending neck injury in the spring of 2003, Bratcher joined the Dolphins’ coaching staff as forwards coach. During his first three seasons as assistant coach, the men’s team qualified for the National semi-finals three consecutive years and brought home the Championship hardware in both 2005 and 2006.

Other teams

The Santa Monica's Women's Rugby team was founded in 2005 by visionary members Brooke Nelson, Christine Healey, and Carol Fabrizio among others, and officially accepted into the union in 2006. Every year since inception, the "Lady Dolphins'" numbers have grown stronger and they have climbed the ranks of Southern California's and the Nation's best Women's Rugby programs. With a #6 National finish in 2014 and a #4 finish in 2015, the continue to battle for supremacy in the domestic game. Currently coached by former SMRC player Erica Sin, the Lady Dolphins seem poised to compete at the top of the table in 2016.

With beginnings as a co-ed non-contact program for U-8s, U-12s and U-14s in 2004, the Santa Monica Rugby Club now youth rugby programs for U-8's, U-10's, U-12's, U-14's, U-16's, and U-18's for both boys and girls, as well as holding a semi-annual rugby demonstration day and PE programs at four local public schools.


  1. ^ "Club History". Archived from the original on 19 August 2006. Retrieved 31 August 2006. 
  2. ^ "Boston Irish Wolfhounds To Join USA Rugby Super League". Retrieved 31 August 2006. 

External links

  • Official Website
  • SMRC Online Gear Shop
  • SCRFU website
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