SF RFC competes in Northern Arizona 10’s tournament

Northern Arizona Tens 2021

The Santa Fe Rugby Club posted a one win, two loss record Saturday at the Northern Arizona Tens tournament in Flagstaff, Arizona. Los Santos dropped their opener to hosts Landsharks 33-19, jumped to an early lead over the Phoenix Rugby Club before coasting home 33-22, and lost to highly-regarded Red Mountain of Mesa, AZ 15-5 in the nightcap. 

Tens rugby is a variation of the traditional 15-player game. Flagstaff’s 40th annual gathering featured both women’s and men’s teams. 

Five-point try scorers for Los Santos included the dependable Isaiah Sanchez, first-year man Adam Jobes, Jake Covington, and team captain Ryan Weir. Jason Osborn was singled out by Weir for his determined tackling and support in attacking phases. 

(Team captain Ryan) Weir praised his young team of developing rugby players. “They played as well as I could have hoped, especially in the last match against perennial contenders Red Mountain.” Los Santos are coached by former Western Rugby Union captain Richard Morris.

SF RFC Annual 10’s tournament report


Santa Fe’s Los Santos Rugby Club dropped the championship match of the 38th annual Santa Fe Tens tournament Sunday to the Albuquerque Aardvarks, 21-17 at the Municipal Recreation Complex. The Santos beat the eventual winners 24-14 in the pool round, where they also beat Albuquerque’s Brujos 19-17 and drew 24-all with El Paso’s Scorpions.

​Tucson’s Old Pueblo Lightning won the women’s division in similar fashion by avenging their pool loss to Atomic Sisters of Albuquerque in the final, 14-10. 

​Second row Jason Osborn opened the men’s championship by scoring his first-ever try for the Santos, and Cory Micander added the two-point conversion kick for an early 7-0 lead. But the Aardvarks answered with two converted tries to snatch a 14-7 lead. Speedster Justin Stallworth streaked home after a loose pass from the visitors but an unsuccessful conversion left Santa Fe trailing 14-12 at the half. 

​Albuquerque scored the next try to take a commanding 21-12 lead with 10 minutes remaining. Micander then uncorked a signature play of deception to produce a 75-meter try for Jake Covington, but it was too little, too late to prevent Albuquerque’s 21-17 victory. 

Old Pueblo Lightning Tucson 

Loss to AS 17-12

Atomic Sisters 3-0



Brujos Win 19-17

24-24 Draw EP Scorps 

ARC Win 24-14

​SF 11 pts v ARC 10

Championship: SF RFC vs Aardvarks 17-21

SF RFC vs Aardvarks match report

Aardvarks @ SF, June 19, 2021

Submitted by Ryan Weir, SF capt. 

Saturday June 19th the Santos hosted the Aardvarks.  Aardvarks came loud and proud and jumped out to a 15-0 lead in the first 30 minutes.   Santa Fe answered with a try to keep the score close.  Halftime whistle blew with Aardvarks up 15-5.   But not before the home team received a yellow card for one too many high tackles. 

The second half was a chippy 40 minutes. The aardvarks scored a try early in the half with Santos still down a man. Things got out of hand in the last 20 minutes and your final score was settled with the aardvarks posting a 45 to the home team’s 12. On the positive side Santa Fe was able to give a couple guys their first live rugby playing experience. Thanks to the fans who came out to support.

SF RFC vs Brujos match report

Santa Fe Rugby Football Club Drops to 2 – 1

June 5, 2021

Santa Fe’s Santos Rugby Football Club dropped their home opener Saturday, 34-31 to the New Mexico Brujos RFC at the Municipal Recreation Complex. The Brujos tallied a five-point try five minutes into the match after a pass intercept but Santa Fe responded five minutes later when Daniel Rayes touched the ball down to draw the score at 5 points apiece. Two-point conversion kick attempts following both tries failed. The teams traded tries throughout the remainder of the match with Santa Fe finally going ahead 31-24 on a try by David Jondreau with 13 minutes remaining in the 80-minute encounter. The Santos retained a 31-29 lead despite DeSante Brown’s try at 74 minutes but couldn’t hold out Patrick Sarson’s 5-pointer as time ran out.

The Brujos scored six tries to Santa Fe’s five, scored by Rayes, Brandon Rey (2), Jonathan Lithgow, and Jondreau. Tanner Graham kept it close by connecting on three two-point conversion kicks for the Santos while Leon Wilson and Sarson managed one each for the visitors.

Combined with earlier road wins over New Mexico Tech and El Paso Scorpions, Santa Fe’s covid-reemergent records stands at two wins against one loss.  The Santos will briefly transition to golf next weekend in the Santos Classic before tackling longtime rivals Albuquerque Aardvarks at home on June 19. 

BRUJOS 5 min Try Josh Aranda / conv Leon Wilson 7

SANTOS 14 min Try Daniel Rayes / conv Tanner Graham 7-7

BRUJOS 28 min John Johnson – 12-7

SANTOS 31 min Brandon Rey – 12-12

BRUJOS 39 min Aranda – 17-12

HALF 17-12

SANTOS 43 min Jonathan Lithgow  17 -17

BRUJOS 46 min Leon Wilson / conv Patrick Sarson 24-17

SANTOS 60 min Brandon Rey / conv Graham 24-24

SANTOS 67 min David Jondreau / conv Graham 31-24

BRUJOS 74 min DeSante Brown 31-29

BRUJOS 77 min Patrick Sarson 34-31 

Gerro Prinsloo, Leon Wilson

Abel Chivira. Daniel Ra/eyes

SF RFC vs NMT match report


SF 22 @ NMT 15 

Filed by: A Man on the Touchline


​Following a year of forced hiatus, Saturday, April 24, 2021 was chosen by the gods for Santa Fe Rugby Club to retake the pitch. New Mexico Tech’s immaculate sea of green served as the venue, with the Santos coming away on top in a surprisingly well-played friendly.

​When Joanne and I arrived Tech’s women’s team (known as the Queens when I coached them; now, I suppose the Lady Miners) had just kicked off a game of Sevens with the Lady Chiles of New Mexico State U. I paused a distance from the pitch to take in the scene and feel the sense of excitement. 

​This was a good game to watch. The players seemed to reflect the improvements in standards I’ve noticed in various You Tube videos of international women’s rugby. Both sides showed good ball retention and the understanding to spread the ball from side to side in search of space. As one of their three former coaches (following Herb Howell and Clint “Doc” Richardson) I was impressed with how willing the home side were to tackle. Some time after the Tech gals had prevailed and the men’s teams were preparing to take the pitch, one of the State ladies, obviously a back*, sprung up from the grass where she was relaxing and ran up to greet me. This turned out to be Alicia Pacheco, daughter of legendary Santos winger Martin and a young woman whose early career I had witnessed as an opposing coach. “My dad would want me to say hi”, Alicia announced. 

​As the men’s teams went through their final warmups I was surprised at the number of players 

wearing the blood and gold of Santa Fe – at least 22, twice the number of guys I had observed at any one practice session in the previous four weeks. Let us pause to recognize our debt to the high-achieving program created at New Mexico Highlands University by Prof. Dickie Greene, a contemporary of some us from 1970s rugby in Albuquerque. Ryan Means, Jaime Terrazas, Frank Marchi, and Keith Maes (aka Rosey) all learned their rugby at the knee of Grandpa Dick or one of his understudies. Case in point: former Vato player-coach Brandon Rey (aka Monster), now back in his native El Paso, brought up a couple of his current UTEP Miner protogés to reinforce our back line.**

​Of course we can’t overlook another Vatoman who seems to turn up whenever and wherever there’s rugby to be played – our friend Armando Herrera, probably more widely known as “Mando.” 

(Mea culpa: Armando told me he doesn’t think he’s on the email list. I took his address at training last night and now cannot find it!) 

​I am reminded that rugby players play rugby and the lengths they will go to get a game. Hats off to NMT director of rugby Gearoid Dunbar for his hard work in helping to safely restore competitive rugby to the Rio Grande. 

* Although their function is often unclear to the casual observer, nearly every rugby team contains at least one or two backs. Every forward knows their utility – to make the team more attractive, if not effective.

**Lest we lose the trace, at our own expense: what’s become of Hugo Gutierrez, the slender-yet-silky former Vato who graced some of our earlier sessions? Also those fellows who turned up at that first practice at Ashbaugh on April 24: Juan Galvez, Andre Fleming, Santiago Lujan – Whoever brought those men out may be eligible to have their CIPPs paid by one of the Anasazi.  


​As usual the sun shone brightly on The Garden Spot of Central New Mexico, yet without unduly punishing us norteños. At long last the battle was joined with the royal-blue clad Miners, who on previous Saturdays had hosted and outscored women’s and men’s teams from New Mexico State as well as our loyal rivals Aardvarks.  

​The students showed their mettle through aggressive defense and occasional dangerous breaks. But our men were up to the challenge and stuck to the conservative, energy-conserving strategy laid out by Coach Richard Morris. I noticed the Santos were not so conservative with their tackling though, which was firm and sure most of the day. 

​After a prolonged period of closely-contested play, captain and flanker Ryan Weir put the finishing touch on a sustained drive to score our first try in over a year. Match commentator James Chavez dutifully announced the scorer’s name as it was provided to him: “Ryan W”.  First-five/fly half/standoff/#10 Dustin Webb, a Tech alumnus, added the conversion, which according to my half-arsed notes, was the only successful goal kick of our day. 

​Not long after Mando knocked on at the goal line, but soon redeemed himself with a dead-on 15 meter backhanded spiral pass that brought audible gasps from spectators. I’m quite sure Mando was thinking of his glory days at Aspen RFC.

​Monster scored one of his patented can’t-be-stopped tries from short range just before Justin Karrenburg’s 40-minute halftime whistle went. 

​Early in the second half SF went up 17-nil when lock/second row/#4 or #5 Jason Lithgow was justly rewarded for his faithful work in dark places when an offload pass from ? (name it and claim it) enabled him to crash over from short range. 

​Finally Tech’s fleet gang of backs got loose for a length-of-pitch try, but not before being seriously hounded by heroic pursuing tackles by Mr. Weir and budding wing Jason Osborn. Fortunately Tech’s conversion kicking was even less successful than ours on the day; 17-5. 

​Tech solidified their foothold with a second try scored by hard-running center Willie Uhrle, a native of American Samoa. 17-10. The concern now was that Tech’s relatively-uninterrupted fitness program would prove decisive. Santos soon had a chance to add three insurance points but center Tanner Graham’s penalty kick bounced away off the post. 

​In the final 20 minutes of play we got the break we needed when exemplary defensive pressure up front forced a weak kick by one of the kids from inside his own 22-meter line. Frank Marchi fielded the kick cleanly and deftly picked his way through the disorganized defense to touch down for a 22 to 10 margin. NMT received their consolation when their big inside center (who proved to be yet another Vato loaner) (!) touched down the day’s last try. My notes show a final tally of Santa Fe 22, New Mexico Tech 22-15.

​The Santos were tired yet jubilant as they came off the pitch, perhaps as much to have finally broken the playing drought as to have won a full 80 minute contest. The team posed for photos beneath the posts and Captain Weir announced Ryan Means as Man of the Match for his relentless play at hooker, enthusiastic defense, and faithful support play. 

​It would be wrong to not mention a few of the heroics on display. As always, Isaiah “Izzy” Sanchez provided airtight last-line defense. The evergreen Dave Jondreau put in a good shift (or two, under generous sub rules), including a lightning poach and pass reminiscent of bygone days. Dustin Webb took the gap with purpose at #10 whenever it presented itself. Santo center and three-time NMT Player of the Year Tanner Graham never failed to drag at least two would-be tacklers 10 or 15 meters beyond the gainline and disheartened opposing carriers. His center partner Jaime Terrazas looked dangerous and there could be trouble as these two grow accustomed to each other’s play. Nicolas Fariña, our sole Argentine, started at wing but got a chance to backstop the team at fullback in the second half. The power Joe Bonham and Jerod Skillman bring to our pack was on display once again, while as always Ryan Weir was everywhere. And it was food for the soul to see Dan Allinder back in the color after a spell in the midwestern wilderness. 

​This was one of those days when Rugby was the winner.