Youth Rugby Report: Play Rugby USA CODP and Niagara Flag Rugby

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CODP Boys Saratoga
CODP Boys team

NEW YORK, NY – We cover all rugby here, including the YRS (Youth Rugby Scene). It has been a while but the YRS is back. Here’s an update from a few of the teams:

Country: USA
State/Province: New York
County: New York City
League: North American Invitational 7s (NAI7s)
Report: Play Rugby USA

Earlier this year, the U.S. Olympic Committee sanctioned its first ever Rugby specific Community Olympic Development Program (CODP) under the direction of Play Rugby USA (PRUSA) in partnership with the Northeast Academy. The first two U18 squads born of that initiative will make their elite tournament debuts next week at the North American Invitational 7s (NAI7s) in Salt Lake City, UT.

The densely packed field of talent at NAI7s includes many of the best programs in USA Rugby’s Academy system. Teams like Eagle Impact Rugby Academy, Atavus, Atlantis, Rhino Academy and the Utah Lions have a number of tours under their belts already and are widely known to carry All-American talent among their ranks.

For Play Rugby USA, the talent level should certainly be in the same realm. Four of their women’s players have been called into duty for the US High School All-Americans on the same weekend in Quebec. Both of the Play Rugby teams have been training alongside and with the Northeast Academy senior assemblies since June.

The team’s focus however will be on its own metrics. Ryszard Chadwick, Play Rugby USA Boys Head Coach explained, “This is our first tour so we want to make sure that we stick to our philosophy and game plan. Hit our performance standards and we will be successful.” Chadwick’s reference echoes the philosophies of other high performance pathway coaches. The theme being to play what is there, perform within each moment and develop a constancy of task accomplishments, or wins.

Play Rugby’s founder and CEO, Mark Griffin will also be on hand in Utah and is glad to see the first PRUSA assembly in action against such a competitive field. “The CODP designation primarily reflects our outreach supporting urban schools and youth organizations – through the activation and ongoing development of both youth and adult coaches. The objective of our mission is to help young people realize their true potential through rugby; for some, that means representing their country. So part of our responsibility is to provide those inspirational and talented athletes with a pathway to elite levels of competition. The CODP teams achieve this both for youth within the PRUSA school and community network and through coach referrals from the broader youth and high school community. As such, we have a very diverse team gelling together and I’m extremely excited to see how they perform at such a high level event.”

The rebirth of the NAI7s event in 2016 is certain to be a great precursor to the Olympic Games in Rio. Highlighting the next generation of stateside rugby talent as it begins its ascent to first tier of rugby nations.

Play Rugby USA U18 Elite Girls at NAI7s

Susan Adegoke (PRUSA) – Julianna Aliprandi (Morris) – Malery Billingy (PRUSA) – Megan Bird (Wisconsin) – Calaysha Byrd (PRUSA) – Tamly Cowen (Morris) – Kye Harris (PRUSA) – Kelsey Joyce (Morris) – Mia Lancellotti (Union) – Emily McHugh (Morris) – Allie Mennella (Morris) – Mahdia Parker (NYRC)

Coaches: Tom Feury and James English

Play Rugby USA U18 Elite Boys at NAI7s

Damon Anderson (Xavier) – Connor Buckley (Xavier) – Gabe Castro (PRUSA) – Kamari Charles (PRUSA) – Jack dePoortere (Ridge) – Ben Ehlers (Fairfield) – Noah Geltman (PRUSA) – Ryan Hercules (PRUSA) – Rory Kinsella (Xavier) – Nathan Salter (Xavier) – Eion Sanservo (Xavier) – James Spence (PRUSA)

Coaches: Ryszard Chadwick and Seamus Kelly

Trainer: KJ Feury

CEO, Founder and Team Manager: Mark Griffin

Thanks to Ryan Trost of the Northeast Academy for sharing this inspiring story.

Back row L to R: Xavier Sanderson, Adam Adam, Emma Brown, Meryem Alibegic, Hussein Nur, Nick Fisher, Daniel Goulet Middle Row L to R: Nicole Margettie, Althea Cahilig, Irem Acari, Carter Schaefer, Charisse Busante, Abdirahman Meris Front Row L to R: Charles Lee, Colin Tchang, Kevin DelVecchio, Zoe Popert, Abbas Ramel Absent: Sterling Ryan, Kerim Mostic, coach Caleb Smith

Country: Canada
State/Province: Ontario
County: Niagara
League: District School Board of Niagara Junior Flag Rugby
Report:  James Morden Elementary  School

James Morden Elementary School is also the grade school of current Canadian Hooker Ray Barkwill. The Mustangs captured the District School Board of Niagara intermediate flag rugby championship taking on teams from Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Thorald and Grimsby. They posted a season and play-off record of 15 wins and zero losses. In the championship tournament they scored 51 tries and allowed only 11 tries. In the semi-final the Mustangs beat Richmond Street School 10 tries to three. In the championship game James Morden downed Prince Philip of Niagara Falls 5 tries to one. This is their second DSBN title in a row.

Thanks to coach Caleb Smith for keeping up the good fight and keeping us informed.

If you would like your youth league/team’s scores to be reported by RWU, simply post them below in the comment section – like a reporter on the scene – or email us at, with “Youth Rugby” in the subject. If you’d like to post a report, send it along!

That’s all for now, please feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter@: @RugbyWrapUp@Junoir Blaber, @Luke Bienstock, @MeetTheMatts, @Ronan Nelson, @Zack Stryfeller, @Brian C Cole, @Garrett Harper, @James Harrington and @Declan Yeats.

And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs
About Junoir Blaber 868 Articles
Born in Osu, Accra, Ghana, West Africa, Junoir Blaber is a rare commodity; while most Ghanians eat, sleep and dream Soccer (football), Junoir is all about Rugby. A self-proclaimed Rugbyologist, he has been involved in Rugby as a ref, coach, administrator and player since Columbus discovered Ohio. His useful/trivial rugby knowledge qualify Blaber as RWU's Senior Correspondent & known in rugby circles as The Rugby Rain Man. He can also be found moonlighting for our American partners at