Benefit For Injured Teen Rugby Player Ronan Nelson; Attempt At World’s Largest Scrum Record

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Team USA Eagle 7s star, Matthew “Polar Bear” Hawkins, who is also now working with Serevi, contributes weekly on Rugby Wrap Up… Matt asked us to alert folks about the following.

Todd Clever with Ronan

SAN DIEGO, CA – On Saturday, April 7, 2012, Ronan Nelson, a sixteen-year-old sophomore student at Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, CA, was critically injured in a club rugby game in San Diego. He was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, where surgery was performed to repair his broken neck. Subsequent strokes from blood clots formed from the injury causing temporary blindness and other health issues. After a several weeks at Scripps La Jolla, Ronan was transferred to Sharp Memorial Hospital for inpatient rehabilitation, where he continues his quest to regain normal function, including the ability to walk.

The Cathedral Catholic High School ( community and the Coastal Dragons Rugby Club ( along with Serevi Rugby ( have joined forces to raise funds to help support Ronan’s rehabilitation. On Saturday, June 9, 2012, a special event, titled the “Team Ronan Rugby Challenge” will be held at Cathedral Catholic High School, 5555 Del Mar Heights Road, San Diego, CA, from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. The event will feature an attempt to break the world record for the largest scrum (840 students) on March 30, 2012 by Belfast’s (Northern Ireland) Ravenhill Royal Academy.

The June 9, 2012 event at Cathedral Catholic includes an exhibition game by USA Rugby Eagles 7s players, San Diego State University rugby players, and Cathedral Catholic High School rugby players. Autographs, food, rugby gear and other rugby related activities will also be available on site. The USA Eagles players, along with key athletes from X-Game exhibition sports, will be on hand to sign autographs.

Entry fee for the event is $10 and includes access to all exhibitions and events. All proceeds will benefit the Team Ronan Recovery Fund.

About Ronan Nelson: Ronan Nelson was born December 31, 1995 in Okinawa, Japan. He attended Flora Vista Elementary School, Diegueno Middle School, and is currently a student at Cathedral Catholic High School, having finished his sophomore year. Ronan played club, middle and high school rugby, soccer and football; he was a member of the 2006 Under-11 National Champion Futsal (indoor soccer) Team. As a freshman on the Cathedral Catholic rugby team he was named “Back of the Year.

Ronan’s high school grade point average (GPA) is 4.5 and he most recently completed two Advanced Placement (AP) courses as a sophomore in Algebra 2 and History. He is a member of the National Honor Society.

Help get Ronan kicking again....

Ronan’s dream was to attend the US Naval Academy, as did two of his cousins (Class of 2007 and 2009); he now has his eyes set on Georgetown University. Ronan will help coach the Cathedral Catholic Highs School rugby team and the Coastal Dragons Rugby Club (Encinitas) next year. Matt Hawkins, former captain of the USA Eagles rugby 7s team and director of California for Serevi Rugby, has asked Ronan to help him work with the San Diego State rugby team next season.

Ronan is determined to overcome his current condition and is working very hard in rehab to achieve his goal of walking again.

For more information or interviews with any of the Team Ronan participants, please call Anamaria Repetti at 760-520-6444 or Email:

About Matt Hawkins 26 Articles
Matt Hawkins is the current Player/Coach of the USA Eagles 7s team. He is affectionately known as "The Polar Bear" because of his light blond hair and eyebrows. Plus, he likes grabbing salmon from Alaskan rivers.