Road To HS Nationals: Back Bay Sharks Circle

null

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Quietly going about its business are the Back Bay Sharks of Southern California, and this past weekend the Sharks pulled off another huge victory, setting themselves up nicely for the Boys HS Rugby National Championships.

Southern California's HS rugby season is split. Players suit up for single-school teams in the winter, finishing the season with a championship in February. St. John Bosco took the California Interscholastic Federation league title, beating St. Augustine in the championship game. La Jolla won the SoCal Youth Rugby Varsity White division.

Watch The Boys HS National Championships LIVE on FloRugby May 16-18

But then everyone looks to the clubs, and it's a tall order to bring those players in and get them working as a cohesive whole. Jeff Bonnett has done a solid job with Back Bay in a tough league that includes Belmont Shore, San Diego Mustangs, and Coastal Dragons.

"We've got a great mix of juniors and seniors," said Bonnett, who also puts in a lot of time coaching with Eagle Impact Rugby Academy. 

At the heart of the Sharks team is the backline, with what Bonnett calls "the usual suspects."

That would be Tiaan Mosconi, Sean Nolan, Junior Gafa, and fullback Jonathan Haley.

Boys HS National Championship Schedule

The hard-working Mosconi suited up for the EIRA team at the recent Tropical 7s. Gafa is going to Brown on a football scholarship, Haley has tons of pace, and Nolan has been called one of the best flyhalves in high school rugby since he was a freshman. His ability to read the game makes everything else work.

Colin Turner is leading the forwards—he's been a force at openside flanker—along with Lucas Pattinson and No. 8 Ethan Howard—his nickname, "Moose," tells you all you need to know, but he has emerged as a massive offensive threat.

"Our loose forwards handle the ball very well and are actually an extension of the backs with the ability to play at pace," said Bonnett. "We are very fortunate this year to have depth with a 25-man roster, whereas last year we finished SoCal final with 17 players total."

But it's more than that, it's unity. Most of these players might play for single-schools, even though Back Bay suits up during the school season, too. But most have been in the Back Bay youth program since they were under 12. 

The result has been SoCal HS Club championships in five of the last six years. 

This year's season has gone well for the Sharks, as well. It wasn't until their fourth league game, against the Mustangs, that they gave up any points. They rolled through the rest of the season, although Belmont Shore was tough, and the playoffs. Belmont Shore was a tough nut to crack in the semis (42-21) and then Back Bay defeated the Mustangs 33-21 in the final.

That list of performances has vaulted Back Bay to the #1 ranking among HS clubs by FloRugby. But HS Nationals is another job altogether. With the KC Jr. Blues first up, the Sharks will be playing teams from different regions, and with different styles, several with plenty of national championship experience.

Ranked #1 for now. What about next week?  

Round 4: Super Rugby Aotearoa/AU Team of the Week

Codie Taylor, Crusaders

With the Australian Super Rugby teams entering the fold this week, the Super Rugby Team of the Week selection just got a whole lot tougher. There were plenty of great performances over the weekend, and a few names on the sheet that continue to show up week in and week out. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

MLR Nationality Breakdown By Position: New England Freejacks

New England Free Jacks

The other day I was thinking about fly-halves in the MLR -- since that is my position -- and I got to thinking how few American players there are playing fly-half in Major League Rugby. The only ones I could think of off the top of my head were Ben Cima (SEA), Scott Dean (SEA), Tadgh Leader (NE) and Zinzan Elan-Puttick (AUS) -- and it's worth noting that both Leader and Elan-Puttick grew up playing rugby in Ireland and South Africa respectively. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

10 Monday Notes: Hot Seats In NZ, Super Rugby Kicks Off In AUS

Reds, Harry Wilson

The gifts keep on coming, as Super Rugby AU's new season just got underway this past weekend with two scintillating matchups, while Super Rugby Aotearoa once again dazzled fans. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

MLR Nationality Breakdown By Position: Houston Sabercats

Houston Sabercats

The other day I was thinking about fly-halves in the MLR -- since that is my position -- and I got to thinking how few American players there are playing fly-half in Major League Rugby. The only ones I could think of off the top of my head were Ben Cima (SEA), Scott Dean (SEA), Tadgh Leader (NE) and Zinzan Elan-Puttick (AUS) -- and it's worth noting that both Leader and Elan-Puttick grew up playing rugby in Ireland and South Africa respectively. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

More Rugby! Super Rugby Australia Kicks Off With Reds vs Waratahs

Waratahs

Much to the delight of many rugby fans all around the world, Super Rugby began a New Zealand-only competition three weeks ago, giving spectators something great to feast their eyes on after a long rugby layoff since the start of the pandemic. Well, starting this weekend the rugby universe will be treated to another great competition, as Super Rugby now begins its Australian-only league. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

TWO UNBEATENS REMAIN: Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 4 Preview

Richie Mo'unga, Crusaders

Through three rounds of Super Rugby Aotearoa, it's the Blues and the Crusaders who still remain unbeaten, while the Chiefs and the Hurricanes are still in search of a first victory on the season. The Highlanders, meanwhile, sit at 1-1 after two heart-stopping fixtures against the Chiefs and the Blues. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Date Set For New Zealand's North vs South Island Battle

Ardie Savea, All Blacks, New Zealand.jpg

For the first time since the mid 1980's, New Zealand is set to reintroduce the famous North vs South Island match on August 29th, pitting players from each of the two parts of New Zealand against one another to settle where the best rugby players in the country truly come from. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

MLR Nationality Breakdown By Position: Colorado Raptors

Colorado Raptors

The other day I was thinking about fly-halves in the MLR -- since that is my position -- and I got to thinking how few American players there are playing fly-half in Major League Rugby. The only ones I could think of off the top of my head were Ben Cima (SEA), Scott Dean (SEA), Tadgh Leader (NE) and Zinzan Elan-Puttick (AUS) -- and it's worth noting that both Leader and Elan-Puttick grew up playing rugby in Ireland and South Africa respectively. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Could New Zealand Be Hosting The Entire 2020 Rugby Championship?

New Zealand v South Africa - Rugby World Cup 2019_ Pool B Warren Little Getty Images For World Rugby.jpeg

With much of the world shut down still thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, rumors are swirling that New Zealand could be home to the entire 2020 Rugby Championship. The past three weeks have seen the beginning of the Super Rugby Aotearoa, a competition involving just the four New Zealand Super Rugby franchises. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

MLR Nationality Breakdown By Position: Austin Gilgronis

Gilgronis vs Toronto Arrows

The other day I was thinking about fly-halves in the MLR -- since that is my position -- and I got to thinking how few American players there are playing fly-half in Major League Rugby. The only ones I could think of off the top of my head were Ben Cima (SEA), Scott Dean (SEA), Tadgh Leader (NE) and Zinzan Elan-Puttick (AUS) -- and it's worth noting that both Leader and Elan-Puttick grew up playing rugby in Ireland and South Africa respectively. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In