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Pittsburgh Forge Looking to Hire Assistant Coaches

[PITTSBURGH, PA] — The Pittsburgh Forge Rugby Club (PFRC) is seeking Assistant Coaches for our men’s sides. An Assistant Coach is expected to make a commitment of time, energy, and effort to the development of players on our Club.

For the fall season, which runs from mid-August through mid-November, the Club is expecting to operate five (5) sides, four (4) of which play a competitive league schedule within the Midwest Rugby Union. Our competitive sides include Men’s Divisions 1, 3, and 4. Our teams typically train twice per week during the evening with our top sides playing an eight-game schedule and our men’s lower-division sides play approximately 5- 8 matches depending on league playoffs. Locations for matches are typically in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. Some trips to Chicago are not out of the question.

In the spring, which runs from mid-March through mid-May, our teams continue to train twice per week but usually books a more social or developmental schedule consisting of matches and tournaments against opponents not seen during league play. If a team or side earns a bid to USA Club Rugby Playoffs/ Nationals, those matches would also be held in the spring.

Assistant Coaching Role
Assistant Coaches are expected to assist in leading a team and provide development to all players, regardless of level or skill. Additionally, Assistant Coaches must work with each side within their respective team to implement the same game strategy across all divisions.

Assistant Coach Requirements:

  • World Rugby Level 1 Coach (formerly L200) Certification is required; World Rugby Level 2 Coach (formerly L300) is preferred.
  • Work within, and be able to aid in the development of, the scheme designed by each team’s respective Head Coach, and duly administer the game plan and tactics to players.
  • Ability to develop players at all skill levels and create match strategies.
  • Must be able to function independently as a game manager in the absence of the Head Coach when a lower-side match is time or location differs from the higher side or sides.
  • Must be able to coach both forward and backline players.
  • Must attend training and matches on a regular basis.
  • Must have strong leadership and effective communication skills.

Club offerings for Assistant Coaches:

  • A seasonal stipend commensurate with experience.
  • An atmosphere of competitive players willing to constantly learn and develop.
  • An opportunity to work renowned and professional Head Coaches.
  • A large alumni network for professional connections. *
  • A professionally administrated club with an active Board of Directors.

If interested, applicants are asked to submit the following information via email to club@pghrugby.com:

  • In your email, please provide a brief introduction of yourself.
  • Rugby resume.
  • Professional resume.
  • At least one (1) rugby-related reference.
  • Explanation of coaching style, preferred strategies, and any additional information you deem necessary to share.

The Club is actively accepting applications. Qualified applicants can submit a resume and cover letter to club@pghrugby.com.

We will reach out to qualified applicants to schedule interviews. The PRFC thanks you in advance for your interest in coaching our teams and look forward to learning about what you can bring to our Club.

Sincerely,

PFRC Coaching Committee
club@pghrugby.com

* Coaching is a commitment and other factors affect your ability to honor that obligation. PRFC can supply access to our professional network to assist in job placement if necessary. Please inform us if you require such assistance to be able to coach a team for the Forge. The need for outside employment will not be considered as a basis to be hired as an Assistant Coach.

Forge Men Announce U23 Academy Programming for Spring 2023

[PITTSBURGH, PA] – After a fantastic inaugural 2022 season that saw trips to Washington DC and Nashville, the Forge are excited to launch our second year of Men’s U23 Academy programming with a Home match to take place in May 2023! This spring, the academy will be open to any male player born in 2000 or after who is interested in high-performance rugby against other academies and age-grade select sides.

This spring, the Forge are thrilled to announce the program’s first home match as the side will be hosting the Wisconsin U23 Selects at Phillip Murray Field on Saturday, May 20, 2023. Phillip Murray Field is the home of the Forge’s Senior sides and is located at 725 Mountain Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15210.

Players are asked to preregister for the program here: https://forms.gle/qXAqhEuCgHJvFfxx6 and attend one of two open tryouts. The first Open Tryout will be Saturday, March 18, 2023 in partnership with the Allegheny Rugby Union as part of the Regional 7s Qualifier at Indiana University of PA in Indiana, PA. The time for that tryout will be announced shortly. The second Open Tryout event will be hosted at Phillip Murray Field on Sunday, April 2, 2023 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM ET.

After the open tryouts, a roster will be selected for the match and those players will be required to attend two (2) additional training sessions at Phillip Murray Field. The dates for these sessions will be Sunday, April 23rd and Sunday, May 7th. Prior to the match, players will also be requested to attend one final “walk-through” session on Thursday, May 18th at a time and location to be determined in Pittsburgh.

The entire Spring 2023 season is listed below:

  • Saturday, March 18, 2023 – Tryout #1 (Indiana, PA)
  • Sunday, April 2, 2023 – Tryout #2 (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Sunday, April 23, 2023 – Training Session #1 (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Sunday, May 7, 2023 – Training Session #2 (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Thursday, May 18, 2023 – Final Walk-Through (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Saturday, May 20, 2023 – Competition v. Wisconsin U23 Selects (Pittsburgh, PA)

There is no cost to try out for the Academy or participate in training sessions. For those players who are ultimately selected to compete, there will likely be a nominal tour fee since the match will be home. A hotel block will be set up for players competing from outside the immediate Pittsburgh-area. Players are not required to register with the Pittsburgh Forge, but are encouraged to do so, especially if they plan on playing Summer 7s with the Club. More details on these requirements will be announced at a later date.

The Academy will once again be coached by Allan Murray and Derek Neubauer. They led the program last season in which several players were called up to MLR Old Glory’s Academy as well as coaching an impressive win over USA Rugby South Panthers U23.

Questions should be directed to the email address mensu23@pghrugby.com. If any players are unable to attend one of the two Open Tryout sessions, they should complete the registration form and submit a coach’s recommendation to the above mentioned email address. Area coaches are welcome to send in recommendations as well.

Forge Men’s U23 Announces Fall 2022 Fixture

Forge U23 Players pose following the program’s inaugural match, which saw the Forge take on the Young Glory U23 Academy in May 2021 in Leesburg, VA, as a curtain-raiser for the Old Glory/Houston Sabercats MLR match.

[PITTSBURGH, PA] – The Pittsburgh Forge Rugby Club is excited to offer Men’s U-23 Academy programming this fall. The academy is open to any male player born in 1999 and after who is interested in playing high-performance rugby against other academies and select sides from all over the country.

This fall’s competition is against USA Rugby South Panther Academy on Sunday, December 4, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee. The specific kickoff time and field location for the match is still to be determined. 

Leading up to the match, the Forge has scheduled two (2) open tryouts followed by training sessions for players selected to compete in the match. The tryout and training sessions will be held at the Forge’s pitch, Phillip Murray Field located at 725 Mountain Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15210. The tryout and training schedule is listed below:

  • Tryout #1 – Sunday, October 16, 2022
  • Tryout #2 – Sunday, October 23, 2022
  • Training Session #1 – Sunday, November 6, 2022
  • Training Session #2 – Sunday, November 13, 2022
  • Training Session #3 – Saturday, December 3, 2022 (in Nashville)

There is no cost to try out for the Academy or attend any of the training events, however those selected to travel to the match in December will be asked to pay a modest Tour Fee to assist in expenses for the trip. Players are not required to register for the Forge but are strongly encouraged to do so. In lieu of registering for the Forge, a player must be either registered for a USA Rugby Club or pay a nominal fee for Participant Accident Coverage via USA Rugby’s Event Sanctioning. This fee is usually $10 – $15.

For this tour, the side will once again be coached by Allan Murray, former Forge Men’s Assistant and Head D2 Coach. Allan has a history of developing college-age athletes into effective, high-level rugby players. He will be joined by Forge Forward’s Coach Derek Neubauer, University of Pittsburgh Coach George Roscoe, and other area coaches and administrators. 

For more information, players should email the Program Manager, Bill Marnell at bill.marnell@gmail.com. Players who are interested in participating this fall should complete the registration survey here: https://forms.gle/8uzabmFCCYU69eVQ9 and plan on attending at least one of the Open Tryout Sessions. If a player is interested in participating, but cannot attend a tryout, they should complete the survey and email Bill Marnell with a coach’s recommendation instead. Area coaches are also welcome to email Bill Marnell with player recommendations as well.

Forge Rugby Announces 2022 Scholarship Winners

The Pittsburgh Forge Rugby Club Scholarship Committee is proud to announce the 2022 recipients of two inaugural scholarship programs:

Aubrie Sipes and Charlie Joe Rosemeyer have been selected as the awardees of the Neal R. Brendel Scholarship. Additionally, Santino Fischio has been selected as the recipient of the Mark W. Davis Scholarship for West Allegheny students.

Aubrie Sipes | 2022 Neal R. Brendel Scholarship

Aubrie graduated from Hollidaysburg High School and is one of the founding members of the Blair United Girls Rugby program. She has participated in various academy and select side rugby programs and led her team to the State Semifinals this spring. Aubrie was chosen for the Brendel Scholarship because of her passion, leadership skills, and her ability to make those around her better. She will attend Penn State University in the fall with the hope to continue playing as a Tight Head Prop.

Charlie Joe Rosemeyer | 2022 Neal R. Brendel Scholarship

Charlie Joe is a graduate of Penn Hills High School and in his sophomore year founded the school’s first rugby team, Big Red Rugby. He has grown up around rugby since his days in the Harlequin’s youth program and plans to continue playing at Sewanee: The University Of The South in the fall. His demonstrated leadership skills and academic accomplishments, as valedictorian of his class, made him a clear choice for this scholarship award.

Santino Fischio | Mark W. Davis Scholarship Recipient

Santino graduated from West Allegheny High School and served as the Scrumhalf and team captain for the boys rugby team. After the loss of late Coach Mark Davis, Santino displayed a readiness to do whatever was needed to continue what the program had built. He was selected this year because of his leadership, humility, and above all else, “Class & Dignity.” In the fall, he will continue with the sport of rugby at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Please join us in congratulating the recipients of the inaugural Neal R. Brendel and Mark W. Davis Scholarships! The Pittsburgh Forge wishes Aubrie, Charlie Joe, and Santino the best and we eagerly await to see how their rugby journeys unfold.

Forge Men Form U23 Academy

Forge winter Misha Shorin scores a try against Cincinnati RFC.
Forge winger Misha Shorin scores a try against Cincinnati RFC.

[PITTSBURGH, PA] – The Pittsburgh Forge Men’s side is elated to announce the formation of a U-23 Academy Side this spring. The Academy is open to any male player born in 1999 or after that’s interested in playing high-performance rugby against some of the best Academy and Select Sides in the country.

The program intends to schedule three to four fixtures annually during competition windows that won’t pull players from their home sides. For this spring, the Forge has secured an inaugural match against Major League Rugby’s Old Glory U23 Academy, aptly called “Young Glory U23”. The match is scheduled for Saturday, May 21, 2022, at Segra Field in Leesburg, VA and will curtain raise the MLR regular season match between Old Glory and the Houston Sabercats. Specifics for this match will be announced at a later date.

“This Academy provides a fantastic opportunity to college-age players in and around the greater Pittsburgh area to train at a high level and play elite competition outside of their university sides. These players will be exposed to the Forge’s robust and professional coaching staff and learn skills that they can take back to their home clubs and could potentially help propel these individuals into high-performance pathways,” Program Manager Bill Marnell explained.

Leading up to the match, the Forge has scheduled two (2) open tryouts followed by training sessions for players selected to compete in the match. All sessions will be held at the Forge’s pitch at Phillip Murray Field, conveniently located near Pittsburgh’s southside. The tryout and training schedule is listed below:

  • Sunday, March 27: Open Tryout from 12PM – 2PM
  • Sunday, April 10: Open Tryout from 12PM – 2PM
  • Sunday, May 1: Closed Training Session from 12PM – 2PM
  • Sunday, May 15: Closed Training Session from 12PM – 2PM
  • Thursday, May 19: Final Walk-Through from 6PM – 8PM

There is no cost to participate in the Academy or attend any training events but players who are selected to travel to the match in May will be asked to pay a modest tour fee to assist in expenses for the trip. Players are not required to register with the Forge but are strongly encouraged to do so. In lieu of registration with the Forge, a player must either be registered for a USA Rugby club or pay a nominal fee for Participant Accident Coverage via USA Rugby’s Event Sanctioning. This fee is usually $10 – $15.

For the spring of 2022, the program will be coached by Allan Murray who recently retired as the Forge Men’s Assistant Head Coach/ D2 Head Coach after several years of success. Allan has a history of developing college-age athletes into effective, high-level rugby players and will be joined by several other coaches from the Forge throughout the training sessions. More announcements are expected to be made soon regarding additions to the staff for the spring.

For more information, players should email Program Manager Bill Marnell at bill.marnell@gmail.com. Players who are interested in participating this spring should complete a general interest form here and plan on attending at least one (1) open tryout event. If a player is interested, but unable to attend a tryout event, he can complete the survey and email Bill Marnell a coach’s recommendation instead. Area coaches are also always welcome to email Bill Marnell with player recommendations as well.

Please stay posted for additional updates regarding this program and for future programming expansions from the Forge including a potential U23 Women’s Program soon.

Forge Women Approach Division 1 Playoffs with “Brake Lines Cut” Mentality

Forge Women after a momentous win in Cincinnati, 48-10.

PITTSBURGH, PA – The Pittsburgh Forge Women have secured a playoff position for the third consecutive competitive season!  Having been presented with a tremendous opportunity for success with the formation of the Midwest East Division 1/Division 2 Hybrid league, the Women entered the Fall of 2021 looking to make a statement in their return from the COVID-19 hiatus.  In a season which saw the Women matched up against old foes and new opponents alike, the Forge came out on top with an unblemished 4-0 record, with an impressive average margin of victory of 40.75 points per game!

However, this journey for the Forge Women began long before the Fall season kicked off. Their eyes have been focused on this opportunity since January, when they welcomed Head Coach Todd Fabec to the club. He understood the task at hand, and the potential that existed within the squad:

“I am honored to return home and have the opportunity to work with an outstanding club. The culture is spot on as the community shares and cares for one another. And, because the club has competed and won at the national level, there is a healthy balance to play fun, modern rugby. Coming through COVID-19 was quite a challenge. Yet, we did it smartly, took care of each other, and now find ourselves in really great shape moving forward. Both this season and beyond. It’s been awesome and I thank the community for giving me a chance to be a part.”

Nickole Burkett (Lock) charging through Detroit defense with support from teammates

The Forge were able to exercise their adaptability in navigating the return-to-play COVID-19 protocols that were in place to ensure player and supporter safety after the 2020 hiatus: Zoom meetings in January, indoor cohort-branched skill sessions in February, socially-distanced outdoor training in March… all of which were approached with avidity from the team.

In late spring, the women had their first chance to execute their new game plan and skillsets, with back-to-back friendlies against Harrisburg RFC and Rochester Renegades!  Though the Forge Women fell to Harrisburg after traveling east to square up in a friendly yet competitive match, the women were right back at it the following week , this time emerging victorious at home against the Rochester Renegades. Both of these friendly encounters provided insight on areas that required more focus and attention before the Fall rolled around, and not once did the Forge hesitate to do what was needed to continue improving their game, as Captain Holly “Ripper” Ramey said so well:

“At the beginning of the season, with a challenging new schedule ahead of us, we came together and decided we would push ourselves to the highest limits. That night, every single player made the commitment to give it their all. You saw it in players coming to training early to run skills work. You heard it in conversations with teammates about strategy and technique. And you felt it on the field when we played not for ourselves, but for each other. All of our hard work has led to this moment. And we’re ready.”

Outside Center Morgan Haggerty cuts past Columbus defense

The women paralleled their on-field work ethic with focused recruiting efforts, and are fortunate to have grown their team throughout the past year, with the culture of the club and the sport of rugby proving, yet again, that there is a place for everyone! The Forge are thankful for their newly acquired talents – some with various athletic backgrounds: powerlifting, soccer, roller derby, and football- all of which have unique subsets of skills which transfer over to rugby quite nicely. The team would not be where they are today without the obvious dedication of its players, both experienced and new. Captain Karina “Strokes” Sarver spoke to this full-club effort that lasted all season long:

“We are so proud of the work that every player has put in as the team prepared to execute the 2021 D1/D2 hybrid season. This fall, we were able to highlight our developmental side, our Gold squad, in two matches. They won both. The sanctioned side, our Black side, was able to win the league with a perfect record. Now, we get to ride this momentum into the D1 Midwest semifinal match that is going to be held on our home pitch. We have elevated each other to get here; it’s time to keep grinding, keep rising, and take care of business on November 6th.”

Jaisa “Twerk” Watkins breaking down to tackle a Buffalo player

The Forge capitalized on their roster depth all season, playing 23 women each match and consistently traveling with a loaded sideline of supporters as well. The team truly demonstrated their dynamism with no two rosters identical throughout the year. Within the new hybrid configuration, the women kicked-off their fall hosting Detroit (MI) and scored within the early phases of the match to seemingly set the tone for the entire season. Next, they traveled to Cincinnati (OH) to take on the Kelts and pulled off another meaningful win. In October, the women’s Black squad got to start the historic, rugby-filled Forge Day with a win over Buffalo (NY). Finally, they were off to Columbus to face the Squirrels (OH), who were also undefeated entering the match. By sticking to their game plan, the Forge triumphed once more and secured their place at the top of the Midwest East D1/D2, earning them a berth to the Midwest Division 1 playoffs!

As previously mentioned, the Forge were fortunate for the opportunity to feature their Gold side twice this fall – once at home to wrap up Forge Day against Kent State and once away against Columbus. Gold emerged victorious in both of these contests to accentuate the team’s undefeated record!

Next up for the Forge women are the Metropolis Valkyries (MN), seeded 2nd in the Division 1 West league, when on November 6th, the Forge will be hosting the Midwest Division 1 Semifinal as the higher ranked side! Be sure to show your support at Phillip Murray Field (725 Mountain Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA), with the action kicking off at 11:00am! The women have only been more dialed in with their training and show no signs of easing off the gas any time soon.

Forge Men Bolster Coaching Staff for Fall 2021

Above: The Forge Men returned to the pitch in April 2020 after a nearly 18-month hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

[Pittsburgh, PA] – The Pittsburgh Forge Rugby Club is excited to announce additions to the Men’s coaching staff for the 2021 – 2022 Competitive Cycle.  Alongside the Men’s top side promotion to the Midwest Premiership (Men’s Division 1) and the elevation of its second side into Midwest Division 2, the Men will also be fielding a third competitive side at the Division 3 level for the Fall of 2021, prompting the program to further bolster its coaching staff.  This expansion of programming and staff is a result of the continued growth of the club, with training sessions regularly exceeding fifty (50) players in attendance.  Read below about each member of the coaching staff who will lead the Forge Men throughout the Fall campaign and beyond! 


Forge Men’s Head/D1 Coach Steve Walsh has been leading the program since their inaugural season in the Fall of 2018. In his first season coaching the Men’s top side, Steve led the team to the D2 Midwest semi-finals. The following year, Steve coached the Men to an undefeated season, losing in the final minutes of the D2 Midwest Championship against perennial National Championship contender Wisconsin Rugby Club. The club’s strong performances over those two years earned them their promotion to the Midwest Premiership. 

Steve, a native of Australia, began playing rugby at a young age, eventually playing Rugby Union at the senior level for Randwick Rugby Club and playing Rugby League professionally for the South Sydney Rabbitohs beginning in 1980. Steve also began coaching at the Australian high school and collegiate levels throughout the 1980s (St. Aloysius, St. Mary’s Cathedral, and Alice Springs), before his playing career saw him move to France to play with Lyon OU and Anse XIII.  In the early 2000’s, Steve relocated to England where he coached at the St. John’s Beaumont School. He later moved to the United States where he would coach the Pittsburgh Harlequins and Pittsburgh Rugby Club. 

In 2020, Steve was selected to serve on the coaching staff of the Midwest Thunderbirds, an elite Selects program offering a pathway for senior men’s club players to professional rugby in the US.  Check out Coach Steve’s introductory press release as Men’s Head Coach for a more in depth read.


Like Steve, Allan Murray also began coaching the Forge Men’s side in 2018, serving for the past three years as the Assistant/D3 coach before ascending this Fall to the Division 2 level with the Forge’s second side. Al began playing rugby at Slippery Rock University, leading that side to three (3) consecutive ARU Championships while earning several selections to the ARU Collegiate Select Side during his tenure there. Following college, Al began playing under Steve Walsh at the Pittsburgh Harlequins and later with the Pittsburgh Rugby Club, before retiring as a full-time player in 2015. 

Al’s coaching career began in 2006 when he began assisting the West End Wandering Barbarians, continuing there through 2009. He then served as an assistant on the ARU Select Side as a Backs/Attack coach. Al would then coach the Woodland Hills U-19 program before joining the coaching staff at the University of Pittsburgh, where he would remain until 2018. Al has been pivotal in the success of the Forge Men’s side, and we look forward to his continued influence this Fall season.  To learn more about Al’s rugby career, visit the press release from his initial introduction to the Forge coaching staff. 


Joining Steve and Al on the coaching staff this year will be Des O’ConnorDerek Neubauer and Clark Hoopes

Assistant/D3 Coach Des O’Connor

Des O’Connor will be joining the staff as the Assistant/D3 coach and will be responsible for working with the club’s new and developing players. Des, a native of Ireland, began playing rugby at an early age for the Fethard National School and then high school rugby at Cistercian College Roscrea. Des attended University College Dublin where he competed regularly against senior men’s side clubs in Leinster. He also played for Cashel RFC. 

In 1988, Des moved to the United States. After a brief stint in Syracuse, Des joined the Pittsburgh Rugby Club from 1989 – 1991 before moving to California and playing two years at the storied Belmont Shore Rugby Club. Des did one more stint for Pittsburgh Rugby Club in 1993 before finishing his playing career for Morris RFC in New Jersey. 

Des coached the Pittsburgh Rugby Club from 2001 – 2003. After some time off, he stepped back in to a coaching role assisting at Central Catholic High School from 2014 – 2016 and then North Pitt United U-19 from 2017 – 2018. In addition to coaching, Des also has a tremendous amount of rugby administrative experience. He served as the Secretary for the Pittsburgh Rugby Club from 2003 – 2007 before serving as the President of the Allegheny Rugby Union from 2007 – 2011. Finally, Des served on the inaugural Board of Directors for the Pittsburgh Forge from 2019-2020. 


Assistant/Forwards Coach Derek Neubauer

Derek Neubauer has been added to the staff as an Assistant/Forwards Coach. Derek began playing at Slippery Rock University in 2000, serving as the club’s Captain from 2003 – 2005. He earned a selection to the ARU Select Sides in 2004. Upon graduation, Derek began playing for the Bayonne Bombers and then the Westmoreland Highlanders before moving over to the Pittsburgh Rugby Club where he played from 2009 through PRFC’s rebirth as the Forge in 2018, and playing two additional seasons with the Forge’s top side in 2018 and 2019 before entering retirement. 

Derek began coaching at his alma mater, Slippery Rock University, in 2006 and then continued to coach there even after becoming the Head Coach at the University of Pittsburgh in 2009. Derek resigned from SRU in 2011 and focused on Pitt, coaching there until 2020. Derek also served as an ARU Select Side coach in 2009. 


Assistant/Backs Coach Clark Hoopes

Finally, Clark Hoopes joins the Forge Men’s staff as an Assistant/Backs Coach.  Clark began playing rugby at the University of Massachusetts in 2007, where he was named to the NERFU and NRU College All-Stars each year from 2007 – 2010. He was also named a USA Rugby Collegiate All-American in 2009. After graduation, Clark played for Boston’s South Shore Rugby Club from 2010 – 2015 and for Boston’s Super League side during the 2011 – 2012 season. Clark also toured with Atlantis Rugby 7s in 2009 and 2011 before joining the Pittsburgh Rugby Club in 2015. In the summer of 2016, Clark competed with the storied 1823 7’s side out of Columbus, OH. 

Clark continued to play for the Pittsburgh Forge in their inaugural 2018 season before injuries forced him into retirement. Clark was named the Forge Men’s 7’s Coach in the spring of 2019 and will continue to serve the club in that capacity in addition to assisting the 15’s program in his new role.  


Forge Men’s Coaching Staff for 2021 – 2022 Competitive Cycle: 

  • Head/D1 Coach: Stephen Walsh 
  • Assistant/D2 Coach: Allan Murray 
  • Assistant/D3 Coach: Des O’Connor 
  • Assistant/Forwards Coach: Derek Neubauer 
  • Assistant/Backs Coach: Clark Hoopes 

The Forge Men are in the midst of training for the Fall 2021 season and are fielding three (3) sides in Midwest League Play. Players interested in working with our coaches are encouraged to attend a training session or contact the club for more information!  Contact Us.

Forge Elects New Board of Directors

A snapshot of the 2021 Pittsburgh Forge Annual General Meeting (AGM), held on Saturday January 30, 2021. Despite having to be held virtually, we were thrilled to have more than 60 of our members participate!

Last weekend, the Pittsburgh Forge membership met virtually for its 3rd Annual General Meeting (AGM), and it was great to see our members’ continued enthusiasm despite coming off a year with no rugby! The Forge looks forward to a safe return to rugby in 2021, and to continuing with the momentum the club had been building prior to 2020. Among other regular business conducted, the AGM featured elections to fill six (6) Board positions, and you can read more below about those who now occupy those positions! These 6 individuals join our 3 continuing Board members (Treasurer Nicole Beswick and General Directors Olivia Redshaw and Neal Brendel) who are now halfway through their two-year terms.


The Forge elected Billy Gordon to a two-year term as President & CEO. Billy started his rugby career in 2012 while a Freshman at Villanova University (outside of Philadelphia, PA), and eventually went on to become the President and Captain of the club. Upon graduating and moving back to Pittsburgh in 2016, Billy began playing with the Pittsburgh Rugby Club (with whom his dad had played during the 1970s-80s), and shortly thereafter was elected the Men’s Match Secretary, and keep this position through PRFC’s 2018 merger into the Pittsburgh Forge. 

President Billy Gordon offloads to teammate Rousseau Kluever

In the inaugural Forge elections in 2019, Billy was elected to the Forge Board of Directors as Secretary, a position which he held up through his year’s AGM.  In his two years in that role, he consistently had his finger on the pulse of the Forge administration, and looks forward to continuing the great work the club has undertaken in its first 3 years.

Billy began a career in Bridge Engineering at Michael Baker International in 2016 following his graduation from Villanova University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.  In 2019 he completed his graduate studies (also at Villanova) with a Masters of Science in Civil Engineering degree, with a concentration in Structural Engineering.


Secretary Andy “Lurch” Chapman, creates space for teammate Tony Cardamone

To fill the position of Secretary & COO, the Forge elected Andrew “Lurch” Chapman, who rejoins the Forge Board after a 2-year hiatus, having stepped back from leadership after serving on the Founding Forge transitional board during the club’s 2018 merger and formation.  With the Forge, Lurch served as the first Men’s Club Captain (alongside fellow Second Row Sam Angelo) for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

Lurch has played rugby for 11 years for 3 different clubs, and has held several administrative positions for each over that span. His career began with Erie RFC in Erie, PA, where he served in several board positions, and (for 2 years) as Team Captain. In 2013, he moved to Pittsburgh and joined Pittsburgh Highlanders RFC where he played for 5 years, serving 3 years as Team Captain and also holding positions as Match Secretary and Vice President. As VP, Lurch was involved in the merger of the Pittsburgh Highlanders with the Pittsburgh Rugby Club, culminating in his service on the Founding Forge Board.

Lurch works as a Web Development Team Lead for DEG Digital, where he is responsible for overseeing his team and ensuring they exceed the standards of the industry by keeping up with current trends. He has served as a vital member of the Forge’s marketing efforts for the past 3 years, and serves as its web developer. 


While working in Singapore, Director of Men’s Rugby, Kyle Franklin played for the Singapore Wanderers.

During their annual Men’s team meeting in early January, the Forge Men elected Kyle Franklin as the new Director of Men’s Rugby. Kyle is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he began playing Rugby in 2007.  After 3 competitive seasons at UIC, Kyle joined the Division 3 Chicago Riot Rugby Football Club.  He served as the Riot’s Captain on the way to the their 2013 Midwest D3 Title and Nationals (Sweet 16) run, as well their 2014 Midwest Runner-up finish, earning the Riot promotion into Midwest D2. After relocating to Pittsburgh to attend the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh, Kyle joined the Pittsburgh Rugby Club, playing with the club through its 2018 merger to become the Pittsburgh Forge, and played one season with the Forge. 

Work obligations saw Kyle relocate again, forcing him to take his talents to the South Pacific for nearly two years. To scratch his rugby itch, he joined up with the Singapore Wanderers, where he won a National Title and a National Runner-Up medal in consecutive seasons. Kyle has since relocated back to Pittsburgh in 2020, and is excited to deliver his wealth of experiences to the Forge. Kyle works as a Solution Consultant for Lucas Systems, based out of Wexford, PA. 


Director of Women’s Rugby, Bobbie Kolarik charges into defenders during a 2019 game against Cleveland.

Likewise during the recent Women’s team meeting, Bobbie Kolarik was elected as Director of Women’s Rugby. Bobbie is a graduate of Allegheny College, where she began her rugby career in 2010. At Allegheny, she served the club as Vice President, and later as President, both while serving on-field as the club’s Captain. After college, she joined the Pittsburgh Highlander Women’s Rugby Club, and served on the Highlander Board in various leadership roles. During this time, Bobbie was also a full-time graduate student in the University of Pittsburgh Physical Therapy Doctorate Program. She earned her Doctorate in 2019 and has been a practicing Physical Therapist in the outpatient orthopedic setting with UPMC since.

Bobbie continued her Pittsburgh Rugby career through the Highlanders merger into the Forge, and has been an active member of the women’s team, most recently as the Women’s Recruitment Chair. She looks forward to helping build a prosperous future for the Forge. 


New Forge General Director and Pittsburgh rugby alum, Pierre Queiroz de Oliveira

Joining the Forge Board as a General Director is Pierre Queiroz de Oliveira. Pierre began his rugby career in France at the age of 13, and after moving to Portugal in the mid-1990s played for the GDS Cascais Rugby Club at the U16, U18, and senior levels, while also earning selections to the Portuguese U16 and U18 National Teams. Following high school, he attended the University of Bath in England and played for their club’s 1st XV side. As a university student, Pierre took the opportunity to spend a year abroad at the University of Michigan, where he was able to join and play with the Michigan Rugby Club. 

In 2002, Pierre moved to Pittsburgh to pursue a career in biomedical research at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and quickly found the Pittsburgh Rugby Club, where he played until 2010, a period during which he had the opportunity at times to both Captain and Coach the PRFC men.

While working at the University of Pittsburgh, Pierre completed his Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology and soon after joined the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse where he worked with startup companies and entrepreneurs. After deciding to pursue law school, Pierre obtained his law degree from Duquesne University in 2014, and is currently a Senior Associate in the Health Sciences Department of the law firm Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP. His practice there is focused on intellectual property procurement and transactions, and he represents public and private life science companies in the US, Europe and South America. 


Forge General Director and Pittsburgh Highlander RFC alum, Gary Lobaugh

General Director Gary Lobaugh was reelected to his position on the Board of Directors following his initial election in 2019. Gary’s rugby career began while a student at Allegheny College in 1991, and spanned nearly two decades in total. Most of his playing years after graduating from Allegheny were with the Westmoreland Highlanders, where he would eventually serve as President, while also having the opportunity to play at several clubs across the country. 

In 2003, Gary was elected to serve as the Allegheny Rugby Union (ARU) President, a position he would hold until 2008 when he started moving into Regional and National rugby governance positions. He served as the Secretary of the Midwest Conference for a number of years before moving into a role as manager for Midwest Competitions in 2013, where his work focused more specifically on club competitions. As part of this role, Gary has been a member of USA Rugby’s National Competitions Committee, now the Senior Club Council Competitions Committee since the USA Rugby reorganization.  From 2011-2018, he also served as a Senior Club representative to Congress for USA Rugby. 

Gary currently works as an External Affairs Manager for Pennsylvania American Water, and has been a General Director for the Forge for the past two years.


The Forge would like to extend its sincere thanks to those outgoing Board members who have served the Club diligently over the past two years:  Bill Marnell (President), Kirsten Andrews (Director of Women’s Rugby), Neil Reynolds (Director of Men’s Rugby), and Des O’Connor (General Director).  Their contributions have been immense, and we look forward to their continued involvement with the Forge. 

Todd Fabec Appointed Women’s Side Head Coach

New Women’s Head Coach: Todd Fabec

[PITTSBURGH, PA] – The Pittsburgh Forge Rugby Club is extremely pleased to announce the appointment of Todd Fabec to serve as the Women’s Head Coach beginning in the spring of 2021. Todd is a Pittsburgh native and brings a wealth of playing and coaching experience, along with a ton of positivity, to our women’s side.

Todd began playing and fell in love with rugby at West Virginia University where he played scrumhalf, flyhalf and fullback. After graduating, Todd moved to the southwestern United States and played for several years for the Division 1 program at Sante Fe Los Santos, while earning call ups to the Rio Grande Select Side and competing in events with the Anasazi Old Boys.

Todd began his coaching career in 2006 after moving to North Carolina. Todd worked as an assistant coach, focusing on attack and technical skills for the Chapel Hill Highlanders U-19 Boys’ side. Over the next 11 years of coaching both the U-15 and U-19 boys’ programs, Todd coached the club to six North Carolina State Championships, five national and regional appearances and a #7 ranking in the nation. While there, Todd helped develop ten High School All-Americans, 2 capped Junior Eagles, and several players who would eventually earn scholarships to some of the best collegiate programs in the country. Todd worked with the Chapel Hill Highlanders until he returned to southwestern Pennsylvania in 2017.

During his time in North Carolina, Todd assumed a number of other responsibilities with area programs. From 2006 – 2010, Todd was an assistant for the North Carolina All-Star Program, again focusing on attack and technical skills. This program ran two age grades, U-17 and U-19, both of which experienced tremendous success during Todd’s tenure. In 2011, Todd joined the program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and would serve as an assistant coach for both the men’s and women’s programs there until 2013. While there, the UNC women’s side finished in the D1 Elite 8.

After moving back to the Pittsburgh area in 2017, Todd began assistant coaching the Robert Morris University Men’s team. While there, he coached the side to the NSCRO (now NCR) Elite 8. Todd also served as Head Coach for the Moon Area Boys U-19 program until 2019. During this period, the Moon Boys won nearly 80% of their games and made the state quarterfinals twice.

Todd, a USA Rugby Level 300 coach, brings his vast experience and positive attitude to the women’s side. Todd will work with women’s assistant coach Desiree Markovich to improve our women’s side and bring home a National Championship.

For more information about our women’s side and competition for 2021, please contact PghForgeRugby@gmail.com!

Men’s Top Side Promoted to D1

[PITTSBURGH, PA] – After months of rumor and speculation, the Pittsburgh Forge were notified last week that the men’s top side will be promoted to the Midwest Premiership this upcoming fall. The Midwest Premiership is the Division 1 competition for the Midwest Competitive Region (CR) and features some of the best competition in the county.

The men’s top side will compete in the CR’s Eastern Conference playing a home and away series against Scioto Valley RFC, the Cincinnati Wolfhounds, the Detroit Tradesmen, the Chicago Griffins, and the Chicago Lions. At the conclusion of each fall, the club on top of the table in the East will play the best side from the West in the Midwest Championship. Western clubs include the Kansas City Blues, Metropolis Rugby, Palmer College Dragons, the St. Louis Bombers, the Milwaukee Barbarians, and newly promoted Wisconsin Rugby Club. The Midwest Champion would then play the champion of the Atlantic Rugby Premiership (ARP) to close out the fall in what’s known as the Elite Cup.

Although not official yet, the Forge men’s side expect promotion of both the second side to D2 and their third side to D3. This will allow more conducive player movement between sides and allow for all three sides to complete for a National Championship. The Forge is thrilled to offer competitive rugby at all three levels this fall. For more information regarding the club, fall competition, or how to join, please email PGHForgeRugby@gmail.com.

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