Tigers Dominate 15s in 2023

SCRC D2 15s Champions 2023

Your Tigers have had a hell of a season this fall 2023.  As you know, we compete in the Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Conference (SCRC).  This year our overseeing body, National Collegiate Rugby, changed the ranking rules and Memphis was placed in the D2 division, since we had less than 10,000 males in attendance at our university.  We were pleased that we continued to compete against our common rivals, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.   We lost Auburn to D1aa, but all other teams stayed in the D2 division. 

September 9 – Our first match this fall was postponed due to hurricane Idalia that hit Florida east of Tallahassee and disturbed the pitch at Valdosta State.  The match was moved to October 21.

Serhab a natural leader

September 16 – Mississippi State University (State) traveled to Memphis for their second match.  They had been beaten by Auburn the previous week 75-13 match.  We knew that State was rebuilding, but the Tigers knew to be prepared.  State can be big and have always put up a contest when coming to Memphis.  However, State was overmatched by the Tigers from the kickoff.  It felt like the Tigers could score at will, which I guess they really did. Speed and ball handling were our main assets.  Final score was Tigers over State 104 to 13.    

September 23 – The Tigers traveled to Georgia Tech who had always been tough to beat at their house. We had traded home wins over the past few years and we knew to not take them lightly in Atlanta. Strangely, I got a call from their captain on Friday afternoon (While our players were on the way to Atlanta) that they could not find a referee for the match.  They asked me what to do???) Coach Dave Hill came to the rescue and came up with a referee for the match and we beat Georgia Tech 57-14.  With this win we could tell that the Tigers were a special team this year. 

September 30 – Tennessee Tech, reporting conflicts and injuries decided to forfeit the match. There were too many forfeitures in the SCRC this year and Commissioner Martin Bradley and the SCRC leadership team are going to explore punishment options for teams who fail to meet their playing commitment in the 2024 season.   Tigers 20-Tech 0 (This is a default score for a forfeit.)

I love running down hill!

October 6 (Friday Night Lights) – The Tigers invited Ole Miss to come to Memphis on a Friday night to play under the lights. Too much fun for all.  We knew that Ole Miss were weak since they had some difficulty winning their matches.  They had some infrastructure problems and were still rebuilding from the Covid years.  Coach Dave hill challenged the players and Tiger supporters in a fund raiser.  The challenge was for donors to pay a $ figure for each point scored by the Tigers. Well, the fund raiser was a great success since the Tigers scored 118 points in one match.  Referee Eric Flemming kept wondering why the Tigers had their foot on the gas and found out when he was informed about the fund raiser.  Final score Memphis over Ole Miss 118 to 3.

Connor leads the backs and kicks the points

October 21 – Memphis traveled to Valdosta, Georgia to take on Valdosta State to make up the game originally cancelled by the Hurricane.  Valdosta had played some good rugby the previous year and we were hoping for some good competition.  Valdosta had also won a few matches in the conference (Ole Miss and Mississippi State), not by big margins, but they were a winning team.  The Tigers had a great time and won the match handily.  Final score Memphis over Valdosta State 74-7.

October 28 – Auburn came to Memphis to play and there was great excitement surrounding the game. Last year, Auburn had beaten the Tigers to wing he conference championship.   Auburn had not lost a match so far this year so we figured this would be the first real test of the Tigers ability to handle pressure.  And handle pressure, the Tigers did.  Auburn fell to the Tigers 35 to 7. 

A beast with his prize!

SCRC Conference playoffs, November 11 – Hendersonville, TN – The SCRC D2 #1 is scheduled to take on the SCRC D2 #2 team.  That would have been Auburn with one loss, but they were forced to move up to D1aa since they have more than 10,000 male students in their school.  Auburn opted to play down a division so they could continue to play the teams that they had been playing and to limit their travel budget.  As a consequence, they were prohibited from advancing to the playoffs.  Valdosta State would have been the second-place team but they had some paperwork problems and had to forfeit some matches due to playing ineligible players.  So, the conference declared that Tennessee Tech was the D2 #2 team that would play in the playoffs.  Based on Tennessee Tech’s performance, we were confident that we would get through the next game but we had to prove it on the field. Which we did.  The Tigers beat Tennessee Tech 93 to 12 and the match was called 5 minutes early by a sympathetic referee observing the defeated and demoralized Tennessee Tech defense.  The Memphis Tigers are SCRC D2 Champions and will be advancing to the National Collegiate Rugby Playoffs which will start on Friday, November 24 in Knoxville, Tennessee.


Solid coaching makes the difference.

Success this year has been built on a solid organizational foundation that has been building for the past 15 years.  From Coaches Rick Cole, Steve Swatzyna, Tony Lubiani, Marc Holley, Blake White, and now with Coaches Dave Hill, Phil Beck, Tony Brooks, and Bryan Colbridge, the Tigers have had solid coaching and the development of a winning style of play.  Tiger Foundation board members Kevin Roedel, Steve Swatzyna and Steve Willilams continue to provide invaluable support for the organization and the team.  Importantly, thousands of people have stepped up in support of the Tigers financially which has been critical for the support of the team. Our close ties with the Memphis high school rugby teams have provided a steady stream of prepared and motivated players who like to win.  Finally, we are very grateful for the Tiger Rugby alumni, friends and family members.  We would not have been able to accomplish what we have without your support. 

Since we are off to the playoffs again. Please make a kind donation to our post season play expenses.  Here is a link where you can help and thanks for any amount that you can spare.  We need everyone to pitch in at this critical time.

o you have a Kroger Card? If so, Kroger will give the Tigers free money if you sign up and tell them to do so. Here is how you can get free money for the Tigers. Please link your card today. If you don’t have a Kroger card you can get one from for free from any Kroger store.

Tiger Rugby Gear is available at our online store at Tytan Rugby https://tytanrugby.com/collections/memphis-rugby

You can financially support the Tigers by donating at this link. We need your help and any dollars you give move the Tigers toward a win. Thanks for anything you can do.