August 28, 2015

2015 Woodlands Rugby Season Wrap Up

2015 Gareth Jones Cup

2015 Season Highlights

The 2015 Woodland Rugby Season officially came to a close on May 22nd with the High School Awards Banquet taking place on Thursday and the Youth Side celebrating their season’s end with a park BBQ on Friday.  Woodlands Rugby has had the honor of much success since its beginning and this year was no exception. This is your 2015 Woodlands Rugby Season Wrap Up report!

Woodlands Rug2015 Gareth Jones Cupby continues to forge the path for rugby in Texas.  This year, the club was honored with  the presentation of the Youth Rugby Award by Rugby Texas, our charter organization. The Youth Development Award recognizes a club’s effort to not only grow the game of rugby at the high school level, but to promote rugby through a robust youth program.  The youth program really shaped up nicely this year under the guidance of newcomer Kevin Murphy. He, along with Phil Devos maintained an active and productive youth league. The High School Ladies squad teamed with Kingwood to host a Rugby Buddies Clinic. This is a clinic for special needs HS kids. The girls paired up with a Buddy and spent the day teaching rugby skills. Below are this season’s hightlights.

  • Gareth Jones Rugby Challenge Cup- High School JV Boys hold the cup till next year
  • Texas State Champs- JV High School Boys- Undefeated for the season!
  • South Texas Division Champions- High School Boys Varsity
  • Texas State Finalists- High School Boys and High School Girls
  • Rugby Texas Youth Development Award

This year, Woodlands Rugby graduated 17 Seniors, with several of these seniors falling in love with rugby for the first time.  This is always a bittersweet event for the club. We’ve grown to know each of these players and while we are excited to see where life takes them, we miss them just the same. In the end, we’re thrilled that Woodlands Rugby was a part of their life and we hope that they take some of the lessons learned on and off the pitch.  Good luck to you all! Graduation

Gage Aucoin  *  Brandon Barnett  *  Cody Chustz  *  Colin Gill  *
Charlie Gordon * Jacob Godail  *  Connor Mackie  *
Ian Martinez  *  Aaron Platt  * Nick Purcell  *
Nicholas Shackleton  *  Chris Sukalski  *  Dustin Wolf



Head Coach Award- Sipi Save

High 2015 girls austinSchool Girls:

MVP – Emily Squier 

Best Back – Madison Randolph

Best Forward – Kati Morgan

Most Improved – Kasey Johnson

HIGH PERFORMANCE PLAYERS- Emily Squier, Madison Randolph, Kati Morgan




High School Boys



MVP – Brandon Barnett

Best Back – Charlie Gordon

Best Forward – Connor Mackie

Most Improved – Jimmy Watson



MVP – Kieran Farmer

Best Back – Kelsey Gladney

Best Forward – Stijn Albers

Most Improved – Tyler Baker


Conner Mackie  Evan Conlon  
Tyler Gartner Sipiliano Save 
Kieran Farmer  Kelsey Gladney Ian Morris  
Alex Rayton  Jack Holdsworth


Junior High

MVP- Matt Planos

Best Back- Jordan Bowers

Best Forward- Luke Rizzo

Most Improved- Finnegan Bishop



Grade 5&6

Most Improved – Murdo Mitchell

Best Forward – Ben Campbell

Best Back – Joseph Golden

MVP – Miles Castleman


Grade 3&4

Most Improved – Gabriel Hopkins

Best Forward – Brock Romanski

Best Back – John Wyatt Painter

MVP – Alma Clark


Congratulations to all~ Have a happy summer! Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter!




Woodlands Rugby Celebrates End of Season


This year, Woodlands Rugby will end the season with not one, but two parties.


On Thursday, May 21 at 6:00newyearrugbypm- The High School Teams (Varsity, Ladies and JV) and Junior High will hold their Awards Banquet at the beautful Belle Maison. On this evening we will award and commend the fine young men and women who have worked so hard this last year, putting forth extraordinary efforts on the pitch and behind the scenes to make The Woodlands Youth Rugby Club such a successful organization. Come share the season’s highlights, team awards and an evening of fun and fellowship. We look forward to seeing parents, players, coaches  and volunteers!

Tickets are required for the High School Awards Banquet. Cost is $25 per person including players. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS

Directions to Belle Maison



On May 22, the youth side (Grades 1-6) will celebrate their outstanding season and biggest growth spurt to date! The younger set will have a cookout at Shadowbend Park at 7pm. For more information contact Diane King.

Tickets are not required for the Youth Rugby Cook Out.


Varsity Earns Southwest Conference Title


VArsity2015Woodlands Varsity Season ReCap as seen through the eyes of a Forward- By Coach Rizzo

The Varsity season started off a bit slow in November, with a lot of new players not real sure about what they had gotten themselves into.  As is typical of the way American athletes get involved in the game goes, as the season progressed, they were all wondering why they had never played rugby before. January was the first test of new skills and while it was a bit unrefined and a little disorganized, a win against Plano saw the advent of the “Bruise Brothers” Brandon Barnett and Dustin Wolf. It also saw the potential for this team to do good things on the pitch. Next up, we took to the the road against perennial State Champion Austin Westlake. We didn’t travel well and from a scoreboard perspective the day was a disaster, but there were moments of brilliance during the course of the match. Notably, from backs Makoa Noble and Jake Rivera who kept fighting to the end as well as forwards Matt Brownell, Sean Leshe, and Nick Cruz who filled in admirably for missing regulars. The game was an eye opener to the newer players and while the score didn’t reflect the amount of energy and effort that went into the match, the coaches saw the heart of a lion in the spirit of this team.

February saw a team of potential do something good and something bad. We opened our league competition with a huge win over St. Thomas, Alex Rayton set the pace in a game that saw Austin Shaw claim his right to play in any backline, while Nick Purcell made a statement on who will dominate the front of any lineout he is in. Stijn Albers also made his debut for Varsity coming up from JV to fill in at second row and impressing the coaches with his ability to adapt to the faster pace. The second part of February was not so kind and as we lost focus, we also dropped a game against a very good Kingwood side. Phillip Walker stands out in the loss as playing above his head to mark a very powerful opposite and holding his own.

Facing elimination from the state finals, March saw a team that was focused and resolved to play to their potential. We opened the month with a match on the road against an undefeated Cy-Fair team. Friday night under the lights was good for us and the front row of Connor Mackie, Evan Smith, and Sipi Save took control of the game early, crushing their opposites and establishing a hard-nosed approach to the game. The result was total ball control and a bonus point win over a very good team. We opened our next game at home against Katy with the return of Ryan Fischer to #8 and a new look in our backline. Captain Charlie Gordon was slated back into the #9 position with Chris Sukalski making his debut at 10. The combination proved to be lethal to Katy as we were finally able to play on a field with width and use our backline to score 26 unanswered points in a hard fought match. The final match of the month was against Memorial who showed heart against a team on a mission. Gage Aucoin played well in a scrappy match, while Jimmy Watson played hard man and cleared out anything that wasn’t ours around the breakdowns. The result was another bonus point win and claim to first place in the South Division.

April is here and with a forfeit win against Strake Jesuit there was only St. Pius in the way of a Division Championship. The match was played mid-week on the road with a crowd of Woodlands supporters braving Houston traffic to see the culmination of a well played season. Kameron Gladney came into his own and ruled over the middle of the field with an iron fist. Running hard and tackling even harder it made for a long night for our opponents. Cody Chutz and Nick Shackleton saw some much needed playing time while Maurice Ruf established himself as a force to be reconed with, running hard and making sure we kept possession. James Tupes made his debut on the wing making his presence known from the moment he touched the ball. The result was an avalanche of tries in a lopsided win to claim the Division title.

Looking back on it, the season has been an amazing trip from a group of guys that weren’t sure about what they were doing, to a team that has every intention of winning a state title. As we noted early in the season, a team of potential who’s next phase of the journey starts Saturday in Dallas. That is where we will see potential realized and if we play to that potential that is when we can stop talking about the team that could be and become the team that is.


Coach Rizzo


JV Renews State Champ Standing


JV Continue the Tradition- By Coach RizzoJV2015

It was business as usual for the JV team this year as they continued their tradition of playing winning rugby. With one of the strongest packs in their age group the backs enjoyed plenty of possession and under the mastermind of Kieran Farmer; they were released to score some fairly spectacular tries during the course of the season. The tone of the season was set with Plano, where players like Andrew Dolphin gave everything in the gas tank to ensure possession. There was no drop off inn intensity when Isaac Beeman came on to replace him and thus it went, the players coming on the pitch were just as skilled, just as committed, just as dedicated to winning as the players that came off. The next match was Austin Westlake where Jack Holdsworth took control of the pitch in the forwards supported by players like Dylan Vaughn. This made it easy for Kelsey Gladney to move the ball up the field, as he dominated in the centers.

St. Thomas was the next test and Derian Roper became a one-man wrecking crew as he and Tim Brantley provided power in the engine room. Ian Martinez also provided thrills and spills as he played the #9 more like a Flanker than a Scrum-half. Next stop along the way was Kingwood, where Stijn Albers and Josh Treistman provided strong performances, giving players like Ryan Bird plenty of ball to dot down in the try zone. Kingwood is also where Callen Shouse got his first taste of the game and provided plenty of push as a Lock Forward. Katy was our next contestant and a bit of a challenge as we were short numbers over the Spring Break. Carter Jones and Gregor Mathieson played hard man in the pack, while Matthew Myers established himself as one of the best open field tacklers in the league. Memorial became the next team to have to face a train that would not be stopped. Tyler Gartner had a strong performance and Jonathan Jackson finally learned to lead with his shoulders, and Keaton Blang did well coming off the bench, as the team coasted to a comfortable victory.

The culmination to the season was in College Station where the JV dominated in all facets of the game. The team was able to put it all together and under strong performances by workhorse players like Tyler Baker and Dylan Calvetti they dwarfed all opposition. Special mention goes to Evan Conlon who was a man amongst men and played above the rest of the field on the day. On a day where it would have been easy to lose focus it was the dedication of these athletes that put them in a class of their own. It will be a hard act to follow, but a tradition that is well worth keeping.

Congratulations on a job well done!!


2015 Gareth Jones Rugby Challenge Cup

a&m tourney

a&m tourney2015 Gareth Jones Rugby Challenge Cup will take place on Sat. April 11 at Penberthy Recreational Sports Complex. This is the 9th annual tournament  and is  held each year in memory of former A&M player Gareth Jones and to support the scholarship given in his name.The tournament has a non-traditional format where all teams compete for “Most Honored Club” instead of the traditional 1st, 2nd, 3rd place finishes. The “Most Honored Club” is chosen by a panel of A&M club members and is based around a club’s on-field play as well as their sportsmanship. This is also an opportunity for clubs to get in a lot of rugby. Each team will play at least three matches.


All players and parents must print, sign and return to thisWaiver Form to your designated Team Administrator. Administrators may scan and send the waivers or mail them in the (alphabetized by division with a roster list) AT LEAST 1 WEEK in advance of the tournament.(April 3)

Prior to each team’s first game, each participant must check in at the front office to ensure there is a waiver on file and that participant is listed on their team’s roster.

All participating players must be CIPPed through USA Rugby. This will be checked prior to participation in the tournament.

All games will be played on Saturday, April 11, 2015
Captain’s/Coaches Meeting – 8:30am
Games begin – 9:00am

Strict Complex Requirements – NO Glass, NO Pets, NO Alcohol, NO BBQ Pits are allowed inside the facility. Please make sure this information is passed along to ALL participants, families, and friends attending this year’s tournament.

All guests MUST park in valid marked parking spaces in Lot 100m or Lot 100e. Guests who park on the curb, in the grass, or not in a valid marked parking spaces will be subject to ticketing and towing from facility.

Matthew Theodore
Phone: 214-504-8457

Each division guarantees 3 games starting at approximately 9:00am on Saturday, April 11, 2015 through 5:00pm.
Gates to the complex will not be open to the public until 8am.

Meet The Coaches- Season 2015


 Spotlight On…..Coaches

To coincide with the commencement of match play, this issue is dedicated to all the volunteer coaches who give of their time to make Woodlands Youth Rugby Club such a fantastic organization for youth rugby in our community. These men and women are committed to our club and our players. They give their time, the most precious commodity of all. We are thankful for their commitment. As you read their profiles, you will find the common theme that runs through all rugby veins….camaraderie, opportunity, experience and friendship. All the good things in life!



  Phil Beck- Head Coach

Coach Phil’s favorite quote is  “Leave it all on the field”. It’s possible that he likes that  quote because he lives it! Coach Phil’s dedication to the club is unwavering.  He has been Head Coach for WYRC for almost a decade, leading the club to one State Championship and top three performances nearly every season. Coach became involved with WYRC when he came to help out when the club was in its infancy. Today, Woodlands Youth Rugby Club is one of the largest rugby clubs Texas, thanks to Coach Phil and all the volunteers involved with the club.

From the young age of 8 in England, Coach Phil began his storied rugby career. Before he left England, he had 3 seasons with the Wasps before rugby went professional. Coach Phil’s background is in teaching so coaching is a natural fit. He states to be able to give back to this amazing sport and help introduce players to the game is very rewarding. I am extremely grateful to all the coaches who help us and the huge support from our board, team helpers and fans”  For Coach Phil, rugby represents great experiences, life long friends and huge camaraderie. This is not an uncommon theme armong rugby aficionados. Coach Phil has a nice collection of rugby pals all around the world.

Honorable Mention

Visiting Coach- Gareth Nicholas

Woodlands Rugby Club is thrilled to see the return of Welsh Coaching Legend Gareth Nicholas. Gareth is the Director of Rugby for the Bridgend RFC and Bridgend College in Wales, UK. He is a former Wales U18 & U19 Head Coach, and holds a UKCC Level 4 coaching certification. Two years ago, WYRC hosted the Bridgend College Rugby team. Rugby is a sport of friendships- we forge them and we keep them. Coach will be working with our club for the next week. If you see him on the pitch, please give him a big welcome. Our players will learn a lot. 

Frank Rizzo- JV/Varsity Coach-Forwards

Coach Rizzo got his rugby start playing for Santa Ana RFC in California in the      early 70’s, Back then, rugby was a relatively unknown sport in the US. Coach Rizzo then went on to play in college, then toured New Zealand, England,  Australia. He made it all the way to Texas, then      took on the role of  Head Coach at Sam Houston State University. With some      coaxing from Coach Phil, Frank graciously came on board to coach JV/Varsity.

All three of the Rizzo boys have played or are playing for Woodlands Rugby. To Coach Frank, rugby represents life as we attempt to make order out of chaos.  Woodlands Rugby is fortunate to have Frank on board. Here is a glimpse of Coach Frank’s philosophy..I don’t do facebook so no matter how hard you try to like me, it’s just not possible.” No coach, we don’t like you, we love you! Thanks for playing along.

Doug Mooneyham- JV and Varsity Coach

Coach Doug loves the game, just like every other coach out there. Another California transplant, What is it about these California kids? Coach Doug got involved with Rugby at San Diego State University in 1989, then played  from 1995 – 2003 in the newly formed Super League at the time (this was USA’s 1st stab at professional rugby).

 He became a part of WYRC when he landed in Texas and his son Conner played for the club. CD thinks about rugby as a character defining sport        based on what you put into it.If you can apply the same effort you do during games and practices to everyday life challenges then you have already won. I have seen it happen with players, more than once.”

We often see Coach Doug running around and playing like a varsity kid. In fact, his favorite rugby quote is “It’s the game they play in heaven.” Not that any one of us is rushing to get there, but it sure gives us something to look forward to!

Chelsea Peper – Ladies High School

If you like tricks, you’ll love the story of how Coach Chelsea came to be the ladies coach. She was asked by the coach at the time, to come and help the team out while the then coach was away. Two weeks later, the coach said she was leaving for England and Chelsea would be the head coach. “Best trick someone ever played on me!” says Chelsea. That was two years ago.

Coach started playing rugby at Texas A&M about 6 years ago, She has played for A&M, The AustinValks and the Houston Athletic Rugby Club (HARC). She assists with the Ladies team at A&M assistant Coach for Texas High-Performance U19 Girls.

Coach Chelsea details the meaning of rugby in the following way. “Rugby is a great game it brings together all different people, it teaches you strength and discipline to work hard, play to your strengths and to work on your weakness. As great as that is it’s not the part of rugby that has stuck out the most for me. It’s the close knit groups that we become as we play together and against each other, it’s the friends that you have made for life! It’s about the friends that you don’t see for months at a time, but as soon as you do, you fall back into that friendship like you still see each other every day. They are the reason that the game is played with passion, the reason you will push yourself a little harder. You play the game for the love of the game, but it’s the friendships that are made that will make you a little bit better, make you work just a little harder and a little longer! They are your best friend on the Pitch and off, they become a part of your family. That’s what rugby has meant to me, I love the game and know I will be a part of it as long as I can but I know when I stop playing and stop coaching I will still have those friends that have become part of my family.”
Nic James also assists the ladies team. This dynamic duo keep the ladies team excited about rugby

Mitch Earley- Junior High

Coach Mitch answers the question of the meaning of rugby

“Rugby to me means opportunity. Opportunity to
meet new friends, learn life lessons, travel the world, and most importantly
have fun.”

Coach Mitchell has come full circle with Woodlands Rugby. As the son of one of the club founders, Donovan Earley, Mitchell started playing rugby at the YMCA in the 5th grade.  As Woodlands Rugby got  its start, Mitchell continued on his rugby journey, playing from the ages of 10 through high school. During this time, his mad skills were recognized and he was chosen to play for the Texas Select side starting his sophomore year.  He moved up to play scrum half for the USA Eagles on their U17 and U18 teams.  Following his graduation from high school, young Mitchell went on to play rugby for Life University on scholarship.

Today, Mitchell has the honorable distinction of being addressed as Coach Mitchell. He has coached the U11/13 for the last  2 years is now the Junior High team coach.

He recently completed his Level 200 Coach Certification which focuses on player welfare and teaching players the technical skills to play safely. The assessment requires coaches to demonstrate effective coaching techniques. These techniques include teaching through games, technical skill development through progressions and collaborative coaching. Rugby is a special community and we are grateful to have Coach Mitchell giving back to the club.

“The aspect of sport that you learn is that you have your good times and your bad times, but you share it with great people.” – George Gregan

Phil Devos- 5th and 6th Grade

Originally from sunny South Africa, Coach Phil started playing school rugby when he was 12 years old until his senior year. He also had the honor of serving as the school’s rugby captain. Played for U21 Alberton Rugby club, then immigrated to the great State of Texas. Played a season for the Houston Old Boys RFC before joining The Woodlands RFC in 1993. A proud player on the team that won the 2001 USA National Division II Rugby Championship for the Woodlands. Still an active member/player of The Woodlands RFC Men side and Woodlands Deadwood (over 35) side.

Coach Phil started helping out the club when his sons started playing a couple of years ago. He is glad to be a part of the club and to able to give back to youth rugby. He is even more thrilled that his two boys are keen to play and learn this great sport. Thankful that The Woodlands has a great youth program. Looks like Phil will have lots more rugby to watch and help with in the near future!For those of you in the front row, hear Coach Phil’s favorite quote  “Squeeze – Sink- Drive!

Kevin Murphy- 5th/6th Grade

Newcomer Coach Murphy relocated back to the states from Australia. ” Ironically his coaches asked some guy from upstate NY to help coach the forwards.  They were great mentors for coaching kids at this lev
el so upon moving to the Woodlands, it was excellent to see the strong youth rugby program and I knew it would be a good way for my son to meet friends with a bit of character.”Without hesitation, Coach Murphy jumped right into Woodlands rugby. He was instrumental in developing the club’s Touch Rugby League and he continues to help coach now that the season is in full swing.

Kevin switched from soccer to rugby his freshman year of college and he never looked back. He has played for many clubs in Fort Colins, Co and in NY.“These days I try to keep Woodlands Old Boys ‘Deadwood’ Games on my calendar and hope to make Siena Rugby Alumni Match in the spring without looking to beat up for work on Monday.”

Texas High Performance Rugby Try Outs


high performanceThe high school boys Texas High Performance Rugby Try Outs will be held in Katy, Texas on Sunday, March 22 from 10am-4pm

 Katy City Park 5720 Franz Road Katy.

Start will be 10.00am finish 4.00pm. Please be sure to bring ID.

Good luck to all who are trying out!

Woodlands Hosts Katy Barbarians


It will be a wet one on the pitch tomorrow as Woodlands Rugby hosts Katy Barbarians. Kick off is set for noon for JV, followed by Varsity.  Get your umbrella and your rain boots and come out cheer Green!! VS KATY

Woodlands Youth Rugby Hosts Tournament

tournamnet balls

Big Day for Youth Rugby in Texas Hosted by the Woodlands Rugby Clubtournamnet balls

February 28th turned into a great day for youth rugby in Texas.  Over 250 young athletes from 1st to 8th grades played matches  at the Alden Bridge Sports Park in The Woodlands in the first ever Youth Tournament sponsored by Woodlands Rugby. The Plano Rugby Club traveled through snow & ice to play along with sides from Houston: Katy Barbarians, Lanier Middle School, & the Regis School, and representing the Heart of Texas Rugby Club from Killeen was Kazie Lynne Cheek who played with the Lanier side.  Saturday was also the inaugural meeting of the grade 1&2’s Katy Barbarians and Woodlands Wombats.  They each won a round in the touch rugby exhibition matches. Woodlands Youth Rugby Club is one of the largest rugby clubs in Texas. Our ongoing goal is to grow the game of rugby at all levels, from youth to high school. 

Much thanks to:

·         The Texas Rugby Referee Society answered the call: Travis Bartniski, Paul Purcell, Maurice Mullaly, and Brian Kee made a great difference for the new and experienced players.

·         The field-side medical assistance from Richard Davis, ATC and Dr. Joe Edralin were busy through the day and extremely appreciated.

·         Woodlands grade 7&8 side showed up early to set up the goal post and pitches for the rest of the day.  Thanks to Coach Mitch & Coach Bryan for getting the lads out of bed early.  And the Woodlands Mens and Lonestar Mens clubs for letting us borrow the goal post, pads, and pylons.

·         The parents of the Woodlands Youth Rugby Club for tents, tables, & coolers of ice.  Christa Morgan for getting our fields reserved.  The team managers Terri Blang, Diane King, and Julie Everett had the players uniforms and water ready.  And a super shout out to the concessionaires: Mike Griggs (and his Springbok buddy), Justin King, Patrick Masterson, Lance McDermott and the servers who cooked and served lunch for the duration of the day. 

·         Our sponsors for the tournament; BB Law Group, Nutrition Depot of Sterling Ridge, and Plant Design Solutions.

·         Lastly – to the all the coaches: we are setting the stage for growing rugby as a great option for kids to play in Texas.  We need more teams to play and hopefully there are a few more clubs joining us for the matches next year.


youth rugby

Woodlands Youth Rugby Tournament  is scheduled February 28th at the Alden Bridge Sports Park.

Our goal is to provide a great day of rugby for all of the players. We hope to help grow youth rugby in Texas as a safe and exciting sport and invite new players check out a few matches. Please note: The Woodlands Marathon is Feb 28th. Some roads will be closed off in the Woodlands from 7am – 1pm. Check the Woodlands Marathon Website for road closures.

Great number of youth teams competing in Grade Level’s:  7youth rugby

  • 7 th & 8th – 30 min matches
  •  5 th & 6 th – 24 min matches
  •  3 rd & 4th – 20 min matches
  • 1 st & 2nd – exhibition matches



We would like to thank our tournament sponsors:

BB Law Group PLLC P: (832) LEGAL-TX

Nutrition Depot Sterling Ridge            

Plant Design Solutions                             

Click below for the schedule

WRFC Tournament Schedule