San Francisco Golden Gate RFC

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SFGG Rugby
Golden gate logo.png
Full nameSan Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Football Club
UnionUSA Rugby
Nickname(s)SFGG
Founded2001
Ground(s)Ray Sheeran Field
PresidentTony Wells
Coach(es)Australia Mark Giacheri
League(s)Pacific Rugby Premiership
Team kit
Official website
www.sfggrugby.com
 
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SFGG Rugby
Golden gate logo.png
Full nameSan Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Football Club
UnionUSA Rugby
Nickname(s)SFGG
Founded2001
Ground(s)Ray Sheeran Field
PresidentTony Wells
Coach(es)Australia Mark Giacheri
League(s)Pacific Rugby Premiership
Team kit
Official website
www.sfggrugby.com

San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Football Club is a rugby union club based in San Francisco, California. SFGG's first side competes in the Northern California Rugby Football Union's Division I and newly formed Elite Cup. The SFGG Youth Program includes high school age Varsity, Junior Varsity, and Frosh-Soph teams through to non contact U8's. SFGG also fields nationally competitive Rugby Sevens squads over the summer. The SFGG Old Boys team, the Señors, feature in occasional matches.

SFGG are the 2009 & 2011 Rugby Super League champions, after defeating Life University in the Grand Final 23-13 and 20-5 respectively.[1]

History[edit]

San Francisco Golden Gate RFC formed in 2001 as the result of a merger between the former San Francisco and Golden Gate rugby clubs. SFGG Rugby competed in the Rugby Super League, America’s premier division of rugby union. In the seven seasons since SFGG was formed, the Club has not failed to reach a RSL post-season. In the first three years, the Club made it to the quarter finals; cementing the position as one of the top eight teams in the country. In 2004 an undefeated regular season saw a RSL grand final that was lost, 24-21 to Belmont Shore RFC (LA).

In 2007 the RSL team reached the semi-finals before being defeated again by the eventual champions Belmont Shore. In 2008 SFGG Rugby lost to eventual champions New York Athletic Club.

The 2011 season witnessed a comprehensive clean sweep of the RSL Championship as SFGG defeated Life University in Atlanta 20 – 15.[2]

The San Francisco Rugby Club[edit]

In 1969, Rugby Magazine nominated San Francisco RFC as the Number One Team in the USA (equivalent to what is now the National Championship). City also won the Aspen Tournament,which remains one of the premier tournaments in the USA now known as the Aspen Ruggerfest.

In the ’70s, the club fielded five teams on a regular basis and made several overseas tours, which included England and Wales, New Zealand, Hong Kong and the Orient. San Francisco RFC was a regular participant in the Monterey Rugby Tournament and the Golden Gate Tournament, which was founded in 1970 to celebrate the Centenary of Golden Gate Park.

The ’80s brought an increasing percentage of US-born players into the club, reflecting the increasing popularity of the game in the country. The club’s strong support of youth rugby programs also contributed greatly to this trend. At one time, San Francisco RFC was providing coaches to seven different high schools in the Bay Area.

San Francisco RFC continued to play excellent rugby throughout the ’90s as a mainstay of Northern California 1st Division rugby. A number of key SFGG players were a part of San Francisco RFC in this era, including current former Norcal Squad captain Mike Walker, Toby Jackson, Johnny Mitchell and Brendan ‘Boody’ Dobel.[3]

The Golden Gate Rugby Club[edit]

The Golden Gate Rugby Club was formed in 1988 through the merger of two Division II clubs–the Castaways and Barbary Coast. The two teams merged in a bid to enter Division I and quickly became a powerhouse in national rugby circles. Several founding members of Golden Gate are still heavily involved with SFGG Rugby, including Greg Rocca, Greg Schmidt, Mike Roddy and Jon Spear.

The club was a regular participant in playoffs and finals for the Pacific Coast championship through the ’90s. In 1996, the club made it to the “Final Four” of the USA National Club Championships in Chicago. In 1999 and 2000, Golden Gate made it to the National Final Four, reaching the championship game in 1999. High profile players in this era include the USA’s most capped centre, Mark Scharrenberg, powerhouse flanker Olo Fifita, and USA players Britt Howard and Steve O’Boyle. Former players Grant Wells, Karl Thomson (now coaches) and Robbie Flynn were also important members of the late 90’s squads.[4]

Ray Sheeran Field[edit]

San Francisco Golden Gate RFC leased land and a former PX building from the city of San Francisco on Treasure Island in the summer of 2005 for the purpose of building a field and clubhouse. The facility was opened in November 2005 with a Grand Banquet/Dedication featuring former All Black captain Reuben Thorne and former US Eagle captain Dan Lyle. The pitch was formerly named for former club President and current Director Greg Rocca. In March 2011, the pitch was renamed to Ray Sheeran Field.

Ray Sheeran Field hosted the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 USA Rugby National Club Sevens Championships.

Notable current players[edit]

Players with international caps in in bold.

Club honors[edit]

Notable former players[edit]

Internationally capped players are in bold.

Sponsorship[edit]

Notable primary sponsors include Canterbury of New Zealand, Hilton Hotels and New Zealand Rugby Apparel. The club also has several secondary sponsorship's from local and regional businesses.[7]

References[edit]

External links[edit]