The goal of the SCUTS (Santa Clara University Touring Side) is to introduce world culture into American sports. Rugby is a full-contact sport played without pads. However, players do not need to be large in order to be successful - rugby also requires strategy. Many of the club members have never played rugby until they came to Santa Clara, and the club is always looking for new members. Over the past few seasons, SCUTS has built up a tradition of success. This club works hard, plays hard, and has fun.
Santa Clara University’s Rugby Football Club has a rich tradition. The club spawned from student’s desires to play rugby after the team was disbanded in 1907. Other schools such as Stanford, University of California at Berkeley, and Saint Mary’s also started rugby clubs in that same year. From the creation of these rugby clubs and the player’s desires to learn the game, west coast rugby dominated the sport in the United States from 1915-1917. Santa Clara’s 1916 team went undefeated, with a record of 10-0. During this span, they outscored their opponents 310-13. The only other team in the country to go undefeated that year was Stanford. In a match known as “The Big Game,” Stanford and Santa Clara met at Ewing Field in San Francisco where the Broncos defeated the Cardinal 28-5. Five members of “The Big Game” roster went on to represent the United States in the 1920 Olympic Games, where the U.S. shutout France 3-0 in a five-game tournament for the Gold medal.
Soon thereafter, the rugby club fell to the wayside of other Santa Clara sports. In that time span, soccer became the most prevalent sport on campus. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that rugby came back in full force at Santa Clara. A group of dedicated rugby players started a club team on campus that they named the Santa Clara University Touring Side, or SCUTS. Despite their early struggles, they eventually became a prominent force in bay area college rugby. They were able to beat St. Mary’s and Cal’s rugby teams several times, both which have a long and prestigious rugby tradition. Santa Clara earned a bay area championship in the 1970’s.
The strength of the team ebbed and flowed through the 20th century and is now in ascension. In 2006 the team set out to create a renewed rugby program. With the help of Santa Clara rugby alumni, Chris Kron, whose resume included being a 2 time all American and a USA Eagle, was hired as Head Coach. Under Chris’ tenure with the SCUTS, the team rose to prominence in the competitive Northern California Rugby Football Union and competed in the national division II sweet sixteen tournament in 2010, where they placed 9th in the country. This performance earned them an invitation to compete in Division I, which was accepted.
Chris Kron soon adopted the role as Director of Men’s Rugby and the SCUTS then went through various head coaches with little success. Then a big push by both alumni and the Club President at the time, Ryan Falvey, was made for a prestigious and more permanent choice. The 2011-2012 season marked the beginning of Paul Keeler’s legacy and what a start! He, along with his superb coaching staff and the SCUTS council, brought home the Northern California Division IAA championship, in an exciting 23-20 win over Sacramento State on Bellomy Field. The conference championship earned the SCUTS an appearance in the Sweet 16 of the National Championship tournament. The Santa Clara men’s rugby team was ranked as high as 9th in the nation for Division IAA collegiate rugby during the 2011-2012 season, according to Rugby Magazine.
In most recent news, the Santa Clara Men’s Rugby team moved up to Division 1A, the premier league of collegiate rugby. In their second season, the SCUTS placed second in the league and won their first playoff game in D1A against Colorado State. The SCUTS aim to continue their climb to prominence as they will compete against some of the best teams in the country. In 2017, the SCUTS hosted the second annual Jesuit Cup in Buckshaw Stadium and won the tournament by beating Boston College. This tournament helped them qualify for the USA Rugby 7s National Championship at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado. At Nationals, the SCUTS won the shield, placing them 13th in the nation in 7s.