Santa Clara University’s highest-profile contribution to rugby is the fact the school has hosted a few USA test matches.
DI rugby glory on the pitch, however, has eluded the Bay Area Jesuit Catholic school with an enrollment just over 5,000.
But as the Broncos gear up for their opening D1-AA league clash with Stanford Friday night, they are feeling a surge of confidence despite being on a three-game losing streak.
The losing streak has to be taken in context, you see, and an 83-7 loss is rough, but not necessarily when the opponents are UC-Berkeley. Scoring a try against the Bears is something to be proud of.
They followed up that loss with a 41-30 defeat at the hands of Cal Poly, a game where Santa Clara scored six tries and no conversions. And last weekend it was a similar score, 42-32 against the SFGG club.
Losses, sure, but ones that show this team has some potential to score.
“We have much better structured practices and tons of commitment,” said club president Ryan Falvey. “We’ve seen what that can do, as now we can compete with teams like Cal Poly.”
The SFGG connection extends to more than just playing them, as SFGG Director of Rugby Paul Keeler has been helping coach the team as well.
“Paul has instilled in us the idea that we should worry about a god performance,” Falvey said. “If we are performing well, the wins will come. It helps that we have some continuity. We graduated only two seniors from last year, and we have a lot of leadership on the team.”
The players have also responded to the increased structure.
They are led by forward Tim O’Hara, who was a RUGBY Magazine All American his freshman year, with senior Falvey and center Nick Johnson also spearheading the attack.
Friday’s match with Stanford will be a first – under the lights at Bellomy Field as part of Bronco Pride week. It’s a big deal on campus, and could be, in the end, a big deal around the country, too.