LB Rugby claims the SoCal Youth 7s Championship


Rachel Dawson

Euan Latimer hoists the SoCal Rugby 7s title as the team surrounds him. The Breakers defeated St. Anthony 29-12.

Gavin Zaengle, Sports Editor

On March 4, the Laguna Beach Rugby team competed in the Socal Championships at JSerra High against seven of the best rugby teams in Southern California. These teams were invited based on their season records, and our own Laguna Beach Breakers emerged victorious.

On Friday, Feb. 3, the Laguna Beach rugby team hosted their first home tournament of the season, in which they defeated the visiting Westview and Poway rugby teams, respectively. The rugby team at Laguna Beach kicked off last year and has blossomed into an impressive program. The boys are led by strength and conditioning coach Bobby Impson and assistant coach Craig Dawson. 

“Last season was a learning season, where most of us were still getting used to the game, said senior captain Euan Latimer. “More importantly, we were in the process of building a team culture that would be essential to our success this year.” 

On Friday, a fantastic turnout of around 60 students came out to support, and the team didn’t disappoint. The matches were fast-paced, fierce and exciting. Our Laguna Beach classmates were breaking through tacklers left and right, and the team simply looked unstoppable. The most impressive part of it is that for many of the varsity starters, it’s only their second year ever playing rugby. 

“That night was one of the best nights I’ve ever had playing sports in my life,” said senior Kaiyal Das. “The crowd was so alive and hyped, and all of us noticed it. It pushed us to get the win for our school.”

Two weeks later, on Feb. 17, the Breakers hosted their rival JSerra Lions, as well as the Patrick Henry Patriots, at home for their senior night. Once again, a fantastic turnout of students and fans came out to support, and the rugby did not disappoint. The Breakers dominated both teams and defeated JSerra for the first time ever, finishing the regular season with a stout 10-3-1 record.

“Beating JSerra was the greatest feeling,” said senior Micah Chavez.“They left a bad taste in our mouths by beating us last year, so we knew we had to out-perform them this time. We came into the game confident in our abilities, and we got our revenge.”

On Mar. 4, the boys competed in the Socal Championships at JSerra High. The Breakers cleared their three matches of pool play undefeated, taking down Valley Christian, International school of LA and Francis Parker. The top teams to make it out of each pool were set to play for the title, and so the Breakers were tasked with battling rugby powerhouse St. Anthony High School.

“St. Anthony is a well-respected team that consists of many players who train for rugby year round, practice more than most teams and are very well coached,” said Impson. “Everything seemed to lead to this moment, and without a doubt, the boys were prepared. We dominated both offensively and defensively, playing together to ensure our victory.”

The Breakers defeated St. Anthony handily and took the title of SoCal Youth 7s Rugby Champions. They celebrated in fashion, receiving a gold trophy and medals. Coach Impson had accomplished his goal in only his second year as a rugby coach—to be a champion. Additionally, he was named Youth 7s’ Rugby Coach of the Year. 

“As their coach, I was extremely impressed by the quality of rugby the boys were playing. It was something that I hope they are proud of. There was no doubt that they deserved to be the team to raise the Championship Cup in the end,” said Impson.

The Breakers are set to compete in Tampa, Florida from April 7 to 8 in the Tropical 7s International Tournament against teams from all around the nation and beyond.

“This year, the team was even more invested in the program’s success, possessing a learning mindset and trust for each other that we didn’t have last year,” said Latimer. “We came out strong and dominated teams that we would have previously lost to. We stuck to our game plan, playing what we called ‘Laguna Beach Rugby,’ and the results came our way.”