Monthly Archives: December 2012

Phil Elliott Top Scorer for Fall 2012

Phil Elliott

Phil Elliott

Final stats are in and the Tigers scored a whopping 609 points this fall as they cruised to a 17 and 2 season. The Tigers competed in two 7’s tournaments and the Ozark Ruggerfest along with at least  one match every weekend following the Old Boy match the first weekend in September. I don’t have stats on points scored against us, but many were blowouts and I believe we outscored our opponents 3-1.

In the Fall of 2011, we had problems getting into the try zone. Our first two wins were due to a solid defense and the kicking ability of Phil Elliott. We started scoring tries when we played Harding last year, and have not looked back since. Putting points on the board has been a priority of the coaching staff and the lads have worked very hard at developing creativity and fluidity in their running and ball movement. Also, the Tiger Pack is relentless at protecting the ball at the rucks and tying up their backline players. The pack takes almost all their set pieces and often takes their ball.

Phil Elliott wins honors as top scorer with 110 points on the season. Phil finds a way to win, often putting his body on the line to get the job done. at times he creates offense where none exists, and has provided opportunities to his backline to sore as well. Collectively the backs scored an impressive 365 points this fall. Here is how the backline scoring broke down:

Phil Elliott 110
Tezman Mosley 50
Thomas Strickland 40
Jay MacDonnchacdh 30
Nolan Wilson 30
Jonathan Brewi 25
Freddy Hodges 25
Justin Hale 25
Scott Smith 20
John Elmore 5
Justin Walden 5

Josh 1The second highest scorer was Joshua Campbell with 77 points. Josh graduated from the team this fall. We will miss his play and guidance on the pitch. He had a great field vision and could sense opportunity. He was not only prolific, he set up others nicely and the forwards became rather adept at getting into the try zone. The forwards scored 244 points over the season by working together in an unselfish manner.




Here is how the forward scoring looked:

Joshua Campbell 77
Kasra Koleini 37
Brandon Worley 35
Josiah Shipley 30
Chris Cobb 20
Jonathan Bauer 10
Will Fitts 10
Kian Kolieni 10
August Myers 5
Jamie Perry 5
Ryan Phillips 5


Losing Josh this season is going to be a blow to our team, but I am confident that the lads will step up and fill in the gap.

All in all, the offense is moving in the right direction. We need to tighten up on several aspects of our offense, but the direction is promising. The future for the Tigers looks bright.

Fall 2012 Tiger Rugby Dinner

The Tigers held their end of the year party at Central BBQ on Summer and had a grand time. Following a great dinner of the best Memphis pulled pork, beans and slaw, the honors started with the remaining Tiger accomplishments for the season.

John Elmore was honored for his first try as a Tiger in the MTSU match.  John played fullback this year and provided the depth that we desperately needed.  Great work this year John.

Then we honored the graduating players.  Each of these players have completed their collegiate rugby eligibility at Memphis and all contributed mightily to the fabric of our team.  We are a better club from having their influence on and off the pitch.



We started off with Chris Cobb.  He played second row and flanker… and was strong enough that I had often him prop in practice.  With his football background, he was always tough in the ruck, usually winning the ball.  He was a steady defender and crushing tackler.  He dominated loose play… no one wanted to get in his way.  He was elected club as treasurer, served on the Executive Committee and received his Tiger Badge award in 2011.  Thanks so much Chris.




Justin Walden was the perfect 13.  He could give and take licks without problem.  When he ran the ball he was forward leaning and tough to handle.  He read the defense well and was quick enough to manage the outside run.  In the last match he played as a Tiger he scored on a 1-3 switch, running hard against the grain and crashing over the try line.  This was a signature run that we have seen many times.  In honor of Justin, we will now call the 1-3 switch the “Walden” as a reminder of how it is supposed to be done.  Justin served as team captain, organized the Pitch-a-Tent 7’s team this summer, and achieved his “Tiger Badge” award in 2011.  Thanks Justin.


Ryan Phillips was one of the first fellows that I met when I was hired to coach the team.  He was a consistent help to me and often assisted with practice organization. He was quiet, but tough as nails and always unselfish.   He mainly played second row, but could step up to prop because of his superior upper body strength.  When he ran the ball he was unstoppable.  (He scored the first try of the senior game by running over three players.)  Ryan served as team captain and was awarded his Tiger Badge in 2011.  Thanks Ryan.



Joshua Campbell brought knowledge to the pitch that will be hard to replace as we go forward.  He had the uncanny ability to quickly assess the defense and exploit their weaknesses.  His field vision along with his strong upper body made him the most prolific scorer in the forwards.  He spent most of his time at wing forward, but could stand 8 or fly half if need be.  He was deadly accurate for set kicks within 35 meters.  In essence, he was a coach on the field.  He served as team captain, was elected treasurer, and served on the Executive Committee.  He received his “Tiger Badge” award in 2011.  Thanks Joshua.


Following the awards and accolades, the graduates revealed themselves to also be justices for the Supreme Kangaroo Court.  While court was in session, charges were filed against selected players and coaches.  Prosecutors were called up to make the case against the offender.  The Judges would either make an independent judgment or appeal to the audience.  (One hasty opinion turned on Justice Walden and the crowd found him guilty.)  I was successfully prosecuted for running the forwards too hard.  (I didn’t know you could run the forwards too hard. Ha!) Many Tigers were successfully prosecuted and there was proper punishment meted out.   I believe the only tiger who was acquitted was Kasra.  He was amazingly quick witted in his defense… and his rye comments swayed the jury.  It was way too much fun.

I presented the vision for the 2013 spring season where we fully intend to be in contention for the top of the north division of the SIRC.  To achieve that goal, Tigers have a lot to accomplish.  The winter training schedule was distributed.  A copy is available at the U of M Official 15’s Facebook Group.  Though this training schedule is a Tiger Rugby product, it can be used liberally by anyone who wants to get into rugby fitness in six weeks. If you need a copy, contact me.

(Commercial break –  For the spring season we need to raise money.  We are about $3,000 short of our budget and that is with leaving the dues at $250 per player.  ($250 is a deal when you consider that covers travel cost, kit and all matches.)  Even though $250 is a value, this figure is a lot for students to come up with.  All donations to Tiger Rugby are appreciated.  Please see the “donate page” if you wish to contribute.  Thanks to all who freely give.  We’ll send you some swag.)


The new graduates were provided Tiger Rugby Mugs which shall never run dry when they bring them to the home parties and club socials.  They were given plaques outlining their graduate status and the “Book of Man”, by Bill Bennett, which is a collection of stories, vignettes, and literature excerpts encouraging the better attributes of manhood.  Players signed the books, often on pages that had meaning to them.  Kian signed the section with Shakespeare’s St. Chrispen’s Day speech.

Here is his Kian’s favorite section of that speech, “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother;”  



To end the day, Justin, cheerleader for the past two years led the lads in one more cheer.





Tiger Rugby rolls forward.


Tigers Dominate Miss State

In their final outing of the fall, the University of Memphis Rugby Football Club rolled over Mississippi State, 37-0.  (Rumors of a 44-0 win were over exaggerated. A review of the tape and consultation with the referee were required to set the record straight.  More later.)

It was senior day on November 16th when Miss State rolled into town.  Before the match, each senior was singled out, and his accomplishments highlighted.  Grads were thanked for their contributions to the team.  Justin Walden for his slicing running and hard tackling.  He also brought a special spirit to the team, leading our cheers at games and practices.  Chris Cobb, with his athleticism and powerful tackling… dominating in the rucks.  Joshua Campbell, default on-field coach because of his deep knowledge of the game.  He also had an uncanny ability to scan the field, finding the opponent’s weaknesses.  Ryan Phillips was highlighted for his leadership, strength and power. At the jersey presentation, Ryan’s father surprised Ryan and the entire team by coming in for the game from to see Ryan’s last match.  (See Ryan.)

Following the locker room lift, it was no surprise that Ryan led the scoring.  Everyone was jacked up, especially Ryan.  Within 5 minutes of kickoff, the Tigers were pounding at the State goal line.  Off a fast ruck, Ryan scooped up a ball at the 3 meter line, powered over three tacklers and took 5 points.  Fellow graduate Joshua kicked the conversion and the Tigers led 7-0.

However, State is a proud team and they fought back very hard.  The play became sloppy as offensive play was stifled by an iron defense on both sides of the ball.  The Tigers were very tough in the red zone stopping State several times at the line.  Time after time they would drive close, but the Tigers repelled them with quick thinking and booming kicks.

Kian and Tyler Mann were sent off bloody. Tyler with a deep crescent gash in the top of his head was sent to the hospital for staples.  Kian, despite a deep cut over his eye, refused to bleed.  He got taped up to re-enter the match.  End of the first half the Tigers only lead 7-0… lots of work to do.

Throughout the game the Tigers and State were plagued with penalties at the breakdown.  This is an important area of play a that the Tigers must figure out before SIRC play begins.

The second half was a totally different game.  In the first minute, State is caught lying on the ball at their 30 and Phil takes three points.   The Tigers score again in the fifth minute when Phil kicks an errant State pass at their 25, dribbles the ball, picks it up on the hop and takes it in for his first try the day.  He converts and the Tigers are feeling more confident.  They begin to play smarter and loosen up.

It the 20th minute on third phase ball, the backs handle the ball to the wing and pop to Justin Hale who breaks three tackles as he heads for the try line.  As he reaches the two meter line, he is upended by his collar.  The referee calls for a penalty try.  (Here is where the score gets screwed up.) As the referee has a lengthy discussion with the offending State player, Phil kicks the conversion through the uprights.  However, the referee had time off and disallows the conversion.

The next points come in the 24th minute when the Tigers find themselves with a lineout at the 5 meter line.  They attempt a push over maul, but the ball is held up.  On the scrum reset, Phil and Walden execute a perfect 1-3 switch with Walden cutting across the grain of the defense… head down at full pace.  Classic Walden Run.  (From this point forward that play shall be called “Walden”).  No one dare stop him and he slides in for his graduation try.

The conversion is no good (on tape), but the score rises to 27-0.  All seniors have scored except Chris Cobb.  He knows this and he plots his points.

At the 29th minute, the forwards push over a 5 meter scrum but the ball is mishandled and a pileup ensues.  Alastair calls for a reset… 5 meters attacking.  As Kian dribbles from the 8 position toward the goal, Jonathan Brewi steals the ball, spins the tackler and dots for 5.

The Tigers clearly have the upper hand now.  Everything is working for the Tigers.  Lineouts are perfect, scrums dominate and we control the loose play.  Our kicks are even landing perfectly.

With time running out, State is caught not releasing at the 10 meter line.  After a discussion, the forwards decide tap and run.  Brewi on the tap, but Chris Cobb will not let him get away.  As Brewi is hit at the 5, he spins and hands off perfectly to Chris who powers over three tacklers to get his graduation points.  Chris misses the conversion and the final whistle blows.  Final score 37-0.

This is the perfect way to end a fall season.  A win over a tough SEC opponent at home under the lights on a Friday night.  All graduates score points and leave happy. Rugby is a truly wonderful game.


Referee: Alastair Twaddle

All players played in this match.

Final Score 37-0

Points scored:  Phil Elliott 10, Ryan Phillips 5, Justin Walden 5, Justin Hale 5, Chris Cobb 5, Jonathan Brewi 5, Joshua Campbell 2