Forge Men Look Forward to First League Season

Fullback Billy Gordon carries the ball against Scioto Valley RFC during a preseason match in August 2018. Photo Credit: Florence Griffith.


PITTSBURGH, PA – The announcement of the merger of the Pittsburgh Rugby Club and the Pittsburgh Highlanders came four months ago, back in April, when both clubs were in the midst of their spring friendly seasons. Although the men’s clubs began supporting each other right away, they remained separate until Forge Day on May 19th when both sides played each other one last time before becoming one organization. During the summer, members from both clubs participated in the Forge’s summer 7 programs and really got their first taste of working with one another. The chemistry proved undoubtedly to be there as the Pittsburgh Forge’s Premier Men’s 7’s side was able to bring home the Cup Championship at this year’s Steel City 7’s Tournament, the most prestigious 7’s tournament in the region.

In late July, the club transitioned to fifteens and newly hired coaches, Stephen Walsh and Allan Murray, had their first opportunities to begin working with many of the Forge athletes. After only four trainings together, the Forge hosted Division 1 side Scioto Valley,  and then just one week later, traveled to Wheeling Jesuit University to take on a powerhouse D1A collegiate program. This preseason schedule, after only six training sessions together, would have been difficult for even the most experienced Division 1 side, but the Forge wanted to test their mettle right out of the gate. Although they didn’t come away with any wins during the rigorous preseason, that wasn’t the point, or the goal. From each game the coaches were able to take away several positives as well as areas of focus all while trying to shuffle through sixty plus players to develop competitive Division 2 and Division 3 squads. Up until this past Thursday evening’s training, leading up to the regular season opener, a number of positions were still up for grabs, and competition may continue to be wide open throughout the first few weeks of the season. Regardless of how the individual rosters shake out, the Forge are finally ready to put it all on the field starting this weekend.

Cup Championship Side; Back Row – Nick Cardamone, Clark Hoopes, Rousseau Kluever, Billy Gordon, Sam Angelo, Devin Zangaro, David Ashline; Front Row – Cory Hushon, Andrew Knuttel, Frank Cacciotti, Eric David, Yhong Thepboon



The Forge will play a bit of a unique Division 2 schedule this fall. Since only two clubs make up the Midwest’s D2 Eastern Conference, both the Forge and the Cleveland Crusaders will play one another in a home at home series while playing six additional matches against Empire’s Upstate D2 Conference, a league that features two teams from Buffalo, a side from Syracuse and finally a side from Rochester, NY. To qualify as the Eastern seed in the Midwest Championship, the Forge must finish higher in the table standings than the Crusaders at the conclusion of league competition on October 27th.

To start the season, the Forge will host the Syracuse Chargers on August 25th. The Chargers went 3 – 5 in the Upstate Conference last season, but did not play Pittsburgh Rugby Club as part of last year’s crossovers. The Chargers were able to post convincing wins over South Buffalo and Rochester at home, but played a much closer game against South Buffalo in Buffalo and ultimately lost the match against the Aardvarks in Rochester. They also lost handily to the Fairfield Yankees, Buffalo Rugby Club twice, the Village Lions and Morris Rugby.

Coaches Stephen Walsh and Allan Murray address the team during the half to make adjustments against Scioto Valley RFC on Saturday, August 11, 2018.


After a bye week over the Labor Day weekend, the Forge men will hit the road for their first significant travel game for the 2018 season as they travel to South Buffalo. South Buffalo went 0 – 8 last season in the Upstate Conference including a 55 – 34 loss to Pittsburgh Rugby Club in Pittsburgh. Other games of note for South Buffalo included narrow homes losses to Syracuse and Rochester but big time blowout losses at the hands of Buffalo Rugby Club and the Cleveland Crusaders.

Week 3 of the fall season may be one of the biggest weekends in the young Forge history as the men travel to Cleveland to take on the Crusaders. Last season, the Crusaders narrowly fell to Pittsburgh 29 – 22 when they were the travel side. Two late tries from Pittsburgh’s Chris Austin sealed the deal for City. The Crusaders would get their revenge in Cleveland, however, when the Crusaders defeated Pittsburgh 47 – 17 on September 30th. The Crusaders would go 4 – 4 last season losing to Detroit twice and once at Indianapolis. They would post large wins over Rochester and South Buffalo while narrowly beating Indianapolis in Cleveland.

The Forge will continue on the road for the third consecutive week as they travel to Rochester, NY to take on the Aardvarks. Rochester went 3 – 5 last season and was another Empire club who did not play Pittsburgh in any crossovers. They did post solid wins over Syracuse and South Buffalo twice, but lost big against the Crusaders and Detroit Tradesmen, ironically enough, the Aardvarks did compete well against Buffalo Rugby Club; losing narrowly in Buffalo, 31 – 27, and remaining competitive at home, losing 40 – 20.

Forge Flyhalf Tyree Massie breaks through the Scioto Valley line during a preseason match in August 2018.


Week 5 will see the Forge back in Pittsburgh for arguably their toughest match of the season, against Buffalo Rugby Club. The Bison have gone 26 – 6 over the past four seasons including one undefeated season and two seasons with only one loss. The only anomaly was the 2016 – 2017 Competitive Cycle when the Bison went 4 – 4. Last season, the Bison hosted Pittsburgh Rugby Club on October 21st and beat them in a competitive match 44 – 26. On their way towards a 7 – 1 season, the Bison posted big wins over South Buffalo and Syracuse while dropping a match to Detroit 68 – 10. The Bison qualified for Empire playoffs, but lost narrowly in the first round to the Village Lions 31 – 29.

After the bye week on October 6th, when the Forge will host their annual Golf Outing, the men will spend two weekends at home hosting return matches against the Crusaders and Aardvarks, respectively. Depending on how the table looks at that point, the October 13 match against the Crusaders could prove pivotal for the Forge’s hopes for a berth into the Midwest Championship. In addition to being potentially a huge match, October 13th will also be Club Day when all of the Forge’s sides will be home.

To close out the season, the Forge will travel to Syracuse on October 27th. If the Forge is able to play well enough to earn a spot in the Midwest Championship, they will have two weeks to prepare for the November 17th game that’s likely to be held in Chicago against a quality opponent from the Midwest’s Western Conference.


With the merging of two Division 3 clubs, the Midwest D3 Eastern League looks a little different this year. Last season, the league was split into North and South sub-leagues with the North featuring two sides from Cleveland, Presque Isle (Erie, PA) and Akron and the South featuring Pittsburgh Rugby D3, the Highlanders, South Pittsburgh and Greensburg. Since the merger, Canton Rugby Club was brought into the Division 3 mix creating an “Ohio” sub-league with the Cleveland sides and Akron. This brought Presque Isle back into Pennsylvania to play in an “Allegheny” sub-league with the Forge, South Pittsburgh and Greensburg.
Each club will play within their sub-league home and away. This will seed the teams and begin playoffs with the top two seeds from each sub-league playing for a berth in the Midwest playoffs and the bottom two seeds playing out some consolation matches. If the Forge is able to win the league, they will then play the winners of the other Eastern Conference Leagues in a two game weekend over November 10th and 11th. The winner of the weekend would play the Western Conference Champions at the Midwest Championships on November 17th.

Forge Center Patrick Dobbins playing against the Toledo Celtics as a member of the Pittsburgh Highlanders in April 2018.


On August 25th, the Forge D3 will open up their season again the Greensburg Rugby Club. The Maulers went 1 – 5 last season picking up their only win narrowly against Pittsburgh Rugby D3 by a score of 21 – 19. They lost two games against the Highlanders by an aggregate score of 108 – 14 as well as both games to South Pittsburgh, although those games were much more competitive. The other loss was against Pittsburgh D3 in Pittsburgh, a close match much like the game they won, this time, 38 – 34.

After the Labor Day bye weekend, the Forge will be on the road traveling to Erie, PA to take on the Presque Isle Scallywags. In 2017, the Scallywags finished 2 – 4 with home wins over Akron Rugby and the Cleveland Rovers. Although very competitive in all of their losses, the Scallywags were swept by the Crusaders and lost both away games in Akron and at the Rovers. Presque Isle has not played either the Highlanders or Pittsburgh since reforming in 2016.

Week 3 will see the Forge travel to crosstown rival South Pittsburgh. South Pittsburgh has been neck and neck with Pittsburgh Rugby D3 over the past four seasons, going 4 – 3 – 1 since 2014. Their luck has been much worse against the Highlanders, however, losing all matches to them since 2014 and being outscored 431 to 124 over those eight games. With that being said, South Pittsburgh did post an impressive 4 – 2 record last season, losing to the Highlanders twice, but beating both Pittsburgh D3 and Greensburg twice.

The Forge will then travel for the third straight weekend, this time to Mt. Pleasant, PA to take on the Greensburg Maulers for a second time before coming home for two straight matches. On September 29, they will host the Presque Isle Scallywags before the bye week on October 6. Following the Golf Outing bye weekend, the Forge will host their rivals from South Pittsburgh at Club Day on October 13 and wait for league seeding. Eastern League playoffs will be held on October 20th and October 27th with locations dependent on seeding. If the Forge is able to win the league, they will have a bye on November 3rd before the Eastern Conference Playoffs on November 10th and 11th.

Pittsburgh Forge Men’s 2018 – 2019 League Schedule: 

Forge Division 2 Forge Men Division 3
August 25 v. Syracuse Chargers v. Greensburg Maulers
September 1 BYE – Labor Day BYE – Labor Day
September 8 at South Buffalo Rugby at Presque Isle Scallywags
September 15 at Cleveland Crusaders at South Pittsburgh Hooligans
September 22 at Rochester Aardvarks at Greensburg Maulers
September 29 v. Buffalo Rugby Club v. Presque Isle Scallywags
October 6 BYE – Golf Outing BYE – Golf Outing
October 13* v. Cleveland Crusaders v. South Pittsburgh Hooligans
October 20 v. Rochester Aardvarks Eastern League Playoffs
October 27 at Syracuse Chargers Eastern League Championship
November 3 BYE – The Rugby Weekend BYE – The Rugby Weekend
November 10 BYE Eastern Conference Playoffs
November 17 Midwest Championship Midwest Championship

*Club Day

Forge Men Continue Preseason Work at WJU

WHEELING, WV – This past weekend, the Pittsburgh Forge Men traveled to Wheeling Jesuit University with two sides to take on the Division 1A program in two preseason tests. The games were scheduled for 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM and attracted a large crowd as it was Wheeling Jesuit’s freshmen move in day. The weather was hot and muggy under sunny skies for all of the Division 2 match and would that would eventually turn to rain towards the end of the Division 3 match.

From the kick off, Wheeling Jesuit was able to quickly gain possession and drive deep into the Forge defensive zone. After a few quick phases, a great hit from fullback Neil Reynolds (UPJ) was able to bring spark the Forge defense, a notion that would last throughout the day. After holding out the Cardinals for several minutes, they were eventually able to open the scoring and take a 7 – 0 lead after ten minutes.

The Forge would answer back quickly, however, challenging the Cardinals defense with several drives deep into their defensive zone. Eventually, center Clark Hoopes was able to break through the line and touch down a try. With the conversion by Andrew Knuttel (PITT), the Forge Men tied the game at the twenty minute mark. The rest of the half was marked with several missed scoring opportunities from both sides and stout defense. The Cardinals were able to dot down a converted try before the half and take a 14 – 7 lead into the break.

After the half, both sides began making adjustments to their lineups. The Cardinals were able to take advantage of two scoring opportunities throughout the second half and take a 28 – 7 lead. The Forge Men always seemed to be knocking at the door, but missed several scoring opportunities throughout the second half. Finally, with just a few minutes remaining in the game, Sam Angelo (SRU/ IUP) was able to power over the try line and place down his first try as a Forge player. With little time remaining, the Forge coaches opted to forego the conversion kick as they knew their club needed more tries.

After the restart, the Forge was able to grab possession again and spring flanker Tony Cardamone (SRU) for a try to close out the game. Although the Forge came up short, 28 – 17, the coaching staff was extremely pleased at the resolve the men showed; never giving up and ending the game on a very positive note.

This upcoming week, the Forge Men will be opening their league inaugural season at home with the Division 2 side hosting the Syracuse Chargers from the Empire GR’s Upstate Division. Last season, the Chargers were 3 – 5 which was good enough for second place in the league. Kickoff for the Division 2 match is scheduled for 2:00 PM EST.

First XV: 1 – Cody Fulton, 2 – Andrew Knuttel, 3 – Jeff Muha, 4 – Sam Angelo, 5 – Derek Neubauer, 6 – Tony Cardamone, 7 – Alex Gordon, 8 – Timothy Bagatti, 9 – Nick Cardamone, 10 – Tyree Massie, 11 – Eric David, 12 – David Ashline, 13 – Clark Hoopes, 14 – Patrick Dobbins, 15 – Neil Reynolds

Reserves: 16 – Frank Cacciotti, 17 – Judd Mac, 18 – Rousseau Kluever, 19 – Corey Jacobs

Substitutions: Not tracked

Discipline: None.

Referee: Ian Seaton (ARURS)

Tries – Clark Hoopes (1), Samual Angelo (1), Tony Cardamone (1)

Conversions – Andrew Knuttel (1/1); two conversions were elected to not be taken.

Man of the Match – Undetermined


After a few minutes of back and forth rugby, the Forge were able to get on the board with a great run and try from powerful prop Frank Cacciotti (Geneva). The conversion was nailed by Rousseau Kluever (PITT) and the Forge D3 side enjoyed an early lead. After a few additional minutes of back and forth rugby and some great kicking from Kluever, the Forge men were granted a second consecutive lineout near the Cardinal goal line. After a lineout win and maul, lock Bill Marnell (Cal U) was able to pull the ball from the pack and touch down his first try as a member of the Forge. Kleuver again nailed the conversation and the Forge extended their lead to 14 – 0 with ten minutes remaining in the half.

Defensive miscommunication allowed the Cardinals to place down two quick tries and climb back into the game 14 – 12 at the half. The Forge would shake off the mistakes, get re-organized and start the second half with some fresh troops from the bench. After the restart, the Cardinals would take the lead and place down a converted try after several back and forth phases between the two clubs. The Forge defense was led by a young Forge club member, Brandon Fritzius from California University of Pennsylvania. Throughout the second half, Fritzius would lead by example with several punishing tackles and a nice hard run against a frustrated Cardinal defense. This would create momentum for the Forge and eventually led to Tony Wilson (Woodland Hills) making a nice effort to break tackles and place down his first try as a member of the Forge. After yet another conversion from Kluever, the Forge would have the lead, 21 – 19, once again.

The Cardinals would not quit, however. With a seemingly endless supply of players from the bench, the Cardinals would score a try to take the lead back even after a nice play by Brett Albrecht to prevent the score on the previous play. This try would go unconverted and give the Cardinals only a three point lead with time winding down, 24 – 21.

The Forge Men would not quit either, as Clark Hoopes would come in off the bench to make a brilliant play to earn the Forge back the lead. He would kick the ball past the Cardinal defensive line and then field his own kick for a great looking try, his second of the day, one in each game. Again, Kleuver was able to convert and the Forge would have a four point lead with just a few minutes to go. The Cardinals, desperate to get two wins in front of their home crowd, would close out the scoring with a converted try to take the lead and the game with nearly no time remaining. The final score read Wheeling Jesuit 31 – Forge D3 28 in what ended up being a wildly entertaining game.

This week, the Forge Division 3 side will host the Greensburg Maulers who were 1 – 5 in the Midwest Division 3 East – Southern league. Kickoff for the Division 3 match is scheduled for 12:00 PM EST.

First XV: 1 – Frank Cacciotti, 2 – Brett Albrecht , 3 – Judd Mac, 4 – Bill Marnell, 5 – Roy Wotring, 6 – Nick Eritz, 7 – Elcanio Smith, 8 – Charles Cross, 9 – Rousseau Kluever, 10 – Ron Nye, 11 – Corey Jacobs, 12 – Tony Wilson 13 – Julyan Jenkins 14 – Brandon Fritzius, 15 – Billy Gordon

Reserves: 16 – Dan Andrus, 17 – Duc Cau, 18 – Nick Hebert, 19 – Kyle Porter, 20 – Eric David, 21 – Clark Hoopes

Substitutions: Not tracked

Discipline: None

Referee: Mark Seaton (ARURS)

Tries – Frank Cacciotti (1), Bill Marnell (1), Tony Wilson (1), Clark Hoopes (2)

Conversions – Rousseau Kluever (4/4)

Man of the Match – Undetermined


Forge Men Impressive in First Match

Forward Tony Cardamone breaks the defensive line against Scioto Valley Rugby Club on Saturday, August 11, 2018 at Founder’s Field in Indianola, PA.


INDIANOLA, PA – This past Saturday, the Pittsburgh Forge Men’s Side opened up their Fall 15’s season with a preseason friendly match against Scioto Valley Rugby Club, a Division 1 club from Columbus, Ohio. The fixture was held at Founder’s Field in Indianola, PA about 25 minutes north of the City and had a scheduled for a first side kick off at 1:00 PM and a second side kick off at 3:00 PM. The clubs avoided some earlier morning showers and played under beautifully sunny and warm conditions throughout the entire game.

The Forge Men kicked off and were able to gain possession quickly just outside the Columbus 22-meter line. After several phases, possession was lost due to a penalty after attacking to 10-meters out. Scioto Valley was able to counter-attack, but the Forge’s defense was stout as they clearly showed they could hang with the higher division side boasting a number of players from the Ohio Rugby Union’s Select Side. After several minutes, the Forge was able to regain possession and move the ball into the Scioto Valley end of the field once again. Flyhalf Tyree Massie (Cal U) was able to make some space for center Stephan Patterson (PITT) who was able to exploit the gap and open up the game’s scoring. Andrew Knuttel (PITT) added the conversion and the Pittsburgh Forge jumped out to a 7-0 lead after ten minutes.

After the subsequent kickoff, the Forge went on attack again once again moving the ball inside the Scioto Valley 22-meter line. A turnover allowed Columbus to quickly counter-attack and catch the Forge flat footed on defense. After a line break and long run from Scioto Valley, winger Yhong Thepboon was able to make a try saving tackle that allowed time for the Forge defense to get reorganized. After several minutes of Scioto Valley not being able to break the try line within ten meters, they finally scored after some great defensive play by the Forge. The try, along with the conversion, tied the game 7 – 7 at the twenty five minute mark.

Center Stephan Patterson, from the University of Pittsburgh, places down a try to open the scoring for the Forge against Columbus Rugby Club.


After the next restart, the Forge were able to regain possession and threaten again. A yellow card was issued to Columbus for foul play, and flanker Alex Gordon (SRU) was able to power his way into the try zone after some tough runs from winger Corey Jacobs and flyhalf Tyree Massie. The kick was converted by Knuttel and the Forge was in the lead again 14 – 7. Shortly before half, however, Columbus was able to sustain some offensive pressure, particularly from their talented outside backs, and add an unconverted try as the whistle blew. The Forge’s lead was cut to 14 – 12 at the half.

The second half of the game featured the Forge playing significantly more defense. Scioto Valley would put attack after attack together, but the Forge held tough and would force an error or generate a turnover with stifling defense to thwart any real scoring opportunities. The Forge did make some mistakes that thankfully wouldn’t cost them as Columbus would be granted two opportunities to score penalty kicks from just outside the Forge 22-meter line. Fortunately for the Forge, each kick was missed. In the final fifteen minutes of the game, the Forge would make a mistake that landed forward Cody Fulton (Harrisburg) in the sin bin. Down a man, the Forge still battled to defend Columbus who had deadly, try-scoring wingers on the outside. As time ticked by, the experienced Columbus team would get the ball wide and score a converted try with just a few minutes remaining on the clock, taking a narrow 19 – 14 lead.

Now a five point deficit, the Forge would have one final opportunity to try and win the game as they kicked off to Columbus once again. Again, after gaining possession of their own kickoff, the Forge was able to sustain attack down the field, inching towards the Scioto Valley 22-meter line. Unfortunately, time would expire and the Forge would come just short of earning a win in their first fifteens game.

Coaches Stephen Walsh and Allan Murray address the team during the half to make adjustments against Scioto Valley RFC on Saturday, August 11, 2018.


Overall, the coaching staff and players were very pleased with the game. After only four training sessions and limited time playing with one another, the Forge showed that they could compete with a very good Division 1 side. Defense and communication in particular were highlighted by the coaching staff as positives for the gelling club. For the second side match, Scioto Valley only traveled with about a half of a squad. Throughout the match, more Columbus players were replaced with Forge players until the final fifteen minutes featured solely Forge players playing one another. Scoring was not tracked, but the time was well spent learning and getting a great run in under the warm summer sun.

Next up, the Forge Men will be traveling to Wheeling Jesuit University to take on their first and second sides in a preseason friendly match up. This will allow the Forge to not only train against a top tier squad, but also build relationships with one of the most prestigious collegiate programs in the area. Kickoff times are set for 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM at Bishop Schmitt Field in the heart of WJU’s campus.


First XV: 1 – Frank Cacciotti, 2 – Andrew Knuttel, 3 – Jeff Muha, 4 – Sam Angelo, 5 – Derek Neubauer, 6 – Tony Cardamone, 7 – Alex Gordon, 8 – Timothy Bagatti, 9 – Stephen Jochim, 10 – Tyree Massie, 11 – Eric David, 12 – Stephan Patterson, 13 – Patrick Dobbins, 14 – Yhong Thepboon, 15 – Billy Gordon

Reserves: Not tracked

Substitutions: Not tracked

Discipline: Cody Fulton (Yellow)

Referee(s): Mark Seaton (ARURS), Patrick Feitt (ARURS)



Tries – Stephan Patterson (1), Alex Gordon (1)

Conversions – Andrew Knuttel (2/2)

Man of the Match – Undetermined

Forge Men Entertain Crowd at Highmark Stadium

The Pittsburgh Forge Men pose for a quick picture after playing one another at Highmark Stadium on Saturday, August 4, 2018.


One of the primary goals of the Pittsburgh Forge Rugby Club is to expand the sport of rugby to a new audience. We do this in a variety of ways, but one of our favorite events is our yearly 7’s exposé at during halftime of a Pittsburgh Riverhound’s soccer match at beautiful Highmark Stadium. It gives us a great venue to display rugby to several thousand soccer fans.

This year, our fans were seated in the Riverhound’s “Supporter Section” which provides a real soccer fan experience. We enjoyed cheering along the Riverhound die-hards singing songs, shouting chants, and distracting the other club’s goalie. The fan section then offered similar support to our guys as they took field leading cheers on the bass drum.

As part of the halftime entertainment, our men’s side played an intra-squad 7-on-7 scrimmage refereed by our own Derek Neubauer. It was an exciting display of rugby 7’s to a new crowd who was bustling with energy.  Playing under the lights at such a gorgeous venue is a fun experience for our players which keeps us coming back every year.  Rugby 7’s has gained greater exposure to a mainstream audience with the recent Rugby World Cup 7’s in San Francisco and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. We hope we can continue doing our part in growing the game in our own area with events like this one.

Thank you to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Front Office for continuing our partnership each year and providing us with such an amazing opportunity – see yinz next season!

Steel City 7’s Recap!

WEXFORD, PA – This past Saturday, the Pittsburgh Forge hosted the 11th Annual Steel City 7’s Rugby Tournament at McKinney Soccer Complex in North Park. The tournament was hosted for ten years by the Pittsburgh Rugby Club with this year’s installment being the first operated by the newly formed Pittsburgh Forge Rugby Club. Forty four men’s, women’s, collegiate and high school clubs from all over the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic traveled to Pittsburgh to participate in the largest Steel City 7’s Tournament to date.

The day was filled with rugby action across five fields at the McKinney Soccer Complex. The weather was great for rugby; the temperature stayed mostly in the high 70’s and every time the humidity seemed to cling in the air, a small pop up rain shower would occur for a few minutes to cool everyone down. In the afternoon, the sun appeared and remained out for the entirety of the playoff rounds.

Forge Director Bill Marnell officiates a women’s pool play match.

The High School girl’s competition displayed the talents of young women from across western Pennsylvania, Ohio and even Indiana. After a few rounds of pool play and some great playoff round matches, the ladies from Carroll High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana were able to win the Cup Championship in a very entertaining final match.

The Senior Women’s Competition boasted a pool of twelve teams. The Bowl Championship was won by the Forge Women’s first side as they defeated the Forge Women’s third side in the Championship match. The Forge Women’s second side fell to the Cleveland Rugby Academy in the Cup Championship semi-final round in a very close 19 – 17 match. The Cleveland Rugby Academy would end up winning the Cup Championship against their second side (Plate Champions) a little later in the day.

The Men’s Pool consisted of twenty four teams from all over the area including several teams with Pittsburgh Forge representation. At the conclusion of pool play, the division was split into three brackets to compete for the Cup (1-8), Plate (9-16) and Bowl (17-24). The Steel Dragons, a Franciscan University alumni side, were able to win three consecutive games in the playoff rounds to clinch the Bowl Championship. In the Plate Championship, the Pittsburgh Forge’s second side fell to a solid Cleveland Crusaders side to take second place in that bracket, tenth place overall.

Cup Championship Side; Back Row – Nick Cardamone, Clark Hoopes, Rousseau Kluever, Billy Gordon, Sam Angelo, Devin Zangaro, David Ashline; Front Row – Cory Hushon, Andrew Knuttel, Frank Cacciotti, Eric David, Yhong Thepboon


The Cup Championship displayed some great area rugby talent. The semi-final rounds pitted a Woodland Hills Alumni Squad, boasting several Pittsburgh Harlequins and several Pittsburgh Forge players against the Ankle Takers, a team made up of alumni from Baldwin Wallace University. Both sides had been dominant all day and after a superb back and forth match, the Ankle Takers were able to squeak by Woodland Hills 32 – 31. On the other side of the bracket, the Pittsburgh Forge’s first side took on the Pittsburgh Pandas, a side that boasts mainly Pittsburgh Harlequins and some local area collegiate players with ambitions to play in Mid-Atlantic 7’s qualifiers. This game would be far less competitive than the other semi-final match with the Pittsburgh Forge dominating the Pandas by a score of 35 – 12. In the Championship match, the Ankle Takers and the Forge battled back and forth the entire duration before new Forge player, Cory Hushon, was able to dot down a try to end the game in favor of the Forge. Pittsburgh was able to retain their Cup Championship as Pittsburgh Rugby Club won the tournament in 2017 and the Forge defended that title in 2018.

Forge Lady Alyssia Moss doing the pull up challenge at the USMC booth.

The tournament was excellently run by first year Tournament Director, Steve Joachim. Additionally, the efforts of all of the Forge volunteers must be commended. Club Interim Treasurer Olivia Lindsey managed the day’s finances in addition to manning the grill all day. Club Interim Secretary Corey Jacobs assisted Stephen throughout the day and worked seamlessly with tournament sponsors United States Marine Corps and vendor Steamroller Rugby Supply. Interim President Neil Reynolds managed the athletic training staff, donated generously by Forge sponsor East Suburban Sports Medicine Center (ESSMC). Additionally, the Forge Women’s Coach, Jason Edsall, served as an AT and as a referee later in the day. Forge Director Bill Marnell assisted in organizing the tournament’s referees and served as a referee himself in addition to several other club members who volunteered their referee services thorough out the day; Alex Gralia, Mike Dean, Dan Houlihan, Nick Cardamone, and Joe Piszczor, many of whom both played and refereed.

The day went off without a hitch, besides running a little behind. Following the tournament, a social was held at nearby North Park featuring beer from Imperium Brewing, owned and operated by club members Ben Carozza and Ross Carnhart. The party then moved to Rugger’s Pub in the Southside for a night cap for those that were still vertical. All and all… a great day of rugby.

MHK Supports the Pittsburgh Forge

PITTSBURGH, PA – The Pittsburgh Forge Rugby club, the city’s newest and largest rugby club, are extremely pleased to announce our charitable sponsorship from The Psychological Cooperative at Malec, Herring & Krause for the 2018 – 2019 Competitive Cycle.

The Psychological Cooperative at Malec, Herring & Krause is located in Mars, PA just five minutes from Cranberry and fifteen minutes from Wexford. The Cooperative specializes in a number of psychological and wellness services including, but not limited to; individual therapy, couple’s counseling, child/ adolescent therapy, grief care, school testing, life coaching, stress management, therapeutic massage, diet liberation, bio-feedback and hypnotherapy.

Elaine A. Malec, Ph.D

Elaine A. Malec, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist. With a collaborative style, she provides an approach that integrates mind, body and spirit. She received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Psychology from the University of South Carolina and her Doctorate of Counseling Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Malec completed her clinical internship at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. She has over twenty years’ experience in the field of psychology. Additional services provided by Dr. Malec include life coaching and life consultation. These services are available to individuals looking to enhance their life effectiveness and do not meet the “medically necessary” criteria required for health insurance involvement.

Jaclyn Herring, Ph.D

Jaclyn Herring, Ph.D. is a Licensed Psychologist. She provides services to adults who are experiencing a range of issues including, anxiety, OCD, eating difficulties and sleep issues. Dr. Herring is a Clinical Faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine where she provides services to professional and university athletes and teams. Dr. Herring developed the Hearing and Heeding Your Hungers: A Diet Liberation Course to address the damaging cycle of dieting and regaining of lost weight. Dr. Herring received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Psychology and Economics, Masters of Science and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. She completed her clinical internship at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Following that, she held a Psychology Fellow position for four years at Harvard Medical School. She has over twenty five years of experience in the field. Dr. Herring uses a Cognitive Behavioral approach in psychotherapy, and is certified in Rational Hypnotherapy. Her memberships include: American Psychological Association, PA Psychological Association, Society for Behavioral Sleep Medicine, Association for Applied Sports Psychology, PA Association for Gifted Education, and National Association for Gifted Children.

Elizabeth Krause, Ph.D

Elizabeth Krause, PhD is a Licensed Psychologist with special expertise in Mindfulness Based Psychotherapy, Anxiety, and Health Psychology. Dr. Krause has a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Orientation in her therapy approach and believes that understanding how stressors affect the mind, body and spirit is integral to individual growth. Dr. Krause had private practices in Nashville and San Antonio before moving to the Pittsburgh Area. She received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Psychology from Texas Tech University and her Masters and Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Krause completed her clinical internship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Her post-doctoral fellowship focused on Chronic Pain Management and Trauma Survivors. Dr. Krause has over twenty years’ experience in the field of psychology with special expertise in Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Krause provides individual, relationship and family therapy for adults. She also offers Life Coaching, Parent Training, and Hypnotherapy services.

To put your life in balance, visit or contact the Cooperative at Malec, Herring & Krause by calling 724-772-4949, texting 412-837-9337 or e-mailing

Dugan & Associates Supports Pittsburgh’s Rugby Club

PITTSBURGH, PA – The Pittsburgh Forge Rugby Club, the city’s newest and largest rugby club, are extremely pleased to announce our charitable sponsorship from Dugan & Associates, P.C., lawyers representing injured people, for the 2018 and 2019 Competitive Cycles.

Dugan & Associates, P.C. have been serving the legal needs of people throughout western Pennsylvania since 2000. The firm was founded by Mitchell H. Dugan. As a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Mitch first practiced at Fingeret, Pollock, Cohen & Zavarella, then at Stone & Stone and finally at Alexander J. Pentecost prior to starting his own firm in 2000. Additionally, he also interned in the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office and with Zittrain & Zittrain. Mitch has spoken about injuries, workers’ compensation and social security disability to audiences throughout the state, has presented for the Allegheny County Bar Association and has spoken for continuing legal education credits for lawyers with the National Business Institute, Clearwater Information Systems, Inc. and Sterling Education Services, LLC.

Mitch is a member of the American Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Allegheny County Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives and the Western Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. He is licensed to practice in the Pennsylvania State Courts and in the Western District of the Federal Courts. He also belongs to the North Boroughs Rotary Club where he served as a past President. Additionally, he has been awarded the honors of Super Lawyer from 2007 – 2017, considered a Top 50 Pittsburgh in 2011 – 2012, and a Best Lawyers from 2016 – Present.

Mitchell Dugan founded Dugan & Associates, P.C. in 2000 and has been fighting for the legal objectives of Pittsburgh residents ever since.


Mitch and the accomplished team of attorneys, together with their friendly staff at Dugan & Associates, will work hard to achieve success for their clients. Much like the Pittsburgh Forge, Dugan & Associates approach legal problems as a team. Their lawyers possess wide-ranging knowledge on topics ranging from worker’s compensation and occupational diseases to Social Security Disability and personal injury. No matter what legal problem you, or your family, may be facing, the lawyers at Dugan & Associates will combine their efforts to purse a favorable result for you. They offer every client personalized service and understand that when you are pursuing a denied SSDI benefit claim, or recovering from a car accident injury, your personal finances as well as your health and well-being hang in the balance. Please put their extensive skill and experience at work for you, to seek the results you need and deserve.

You can schedule a free initial consultation at any time by contacting them online at or by telephone at 412-353-3562 or toll free at 888-9-9-D-U-G-A-N.

Pittsburgh Forge Partners with ESSMC

East Suburban Sports Medicine Center, the official physical therapy and sports medicine provider of the Pittsburgh Forge RC.


PITTSBURGH, PA – The Pittsburgh Forge Rugby Club, the city’s newest and largest rugby club, are extremely pleased to announce our partnership the East Suburban Sports Medicine Center, or ESSMC, to be the official physical therapy and athletic training provider of the Pittsburgh Forge.

ESSMC has more than thirty years’ experience providing physical therapy, athletic training, and occupational therapy services to help patients in their rehabilitation from injuries and illnesses get back onto the playing field and lead more comfortable, fuller lives. ESSMC was established in 1984 by John Bonaroti, PT, ATC, to meet the need for high quality outpatient orthopedic and sports medicine physical therapy care.

Neil Reynolds, DPT, PT, is a center of the Pittsburgh Forge and the manager of ESSMC’s Penn Hills office.

Since that time, the practice has grown to a total of six locations throughout the region serving patients with unparalleled results-driven service with a staff that has a combined number of years of service treating orthopedic and sports injuries exceeding 150. Their diversity in training and education strengthens the staff as each brings with him or her the best from each Physical Therapy program they’ve studied at. ESSMC boasts graduates from the University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, Slippery Rock University, West Virginia University, University of Virginia and Penn State University.

Neil Reynolds, DPT, PT, the most recent President of the Pittsburgh Highlanders and the current co-interim President of the Pittsburgh Forge, manages the Penn Hills Office and established the relationship between ESSMC and the Pittsburgh Highlanders back in 2016. Neil is thrilled that ESSMC will continue providing athletic training services for the Pittsburgh Forge and the events they sponsor.

For more information regarding the East Suburban Sports Medicine Center, please visit

Pittsburgh Celebrates Forge Day!

WHITE OAK, PA – After months of hard work and anticipation, the day had finally arrived when two Pittsburgh powerhouse rugby clubs would battle on the pitch one final time before forging together and moving on as one. This past weekend, the Pittsburgh Rugby Club and Pittsburgh Highlanders hosted their first annual Pittsburgh Forge Club Day in order to write one last chapter in their past clubs’ history books while starting a new chapter as the Pittsburgh Forge.

Head Coach of the Forge Women, Jason Edsall, talking with his players.

Although looking a little rough early on, the weather was warm and the sky was sunny when the Pittsburgh Angels and Highlander Women kicked off the day’s activities around 11:00 AM for their final match. The Angels would build a lead early in the first half, but the Highlander women would add a few scores of their own late in the first half and to begin the second half. In the end, however, the Highlander ladies wouldn’t catch up to their Angel counterparts who added a few scores late to extend their lead and ultimately take the final game.

Following a high scoring and entertaining women’s match, the men took the field a little after 1:00 PM for their final test against one another. The heat of the day was in full effect and the humidity was rising, but that would not deter the enthusiasm from both sides. The Pittsburgh Men would jump out to an early 10 – 0 lead as they dotted down two tries, but missed the conversions. Late in the second half, the Highlanders were able to maintain some possession and score two tries of their own while converting one to take a 12 – 10 lead into the half.

Head Coach of the Forge Men, Stephen Walsh, talking with his players.

After the half, both clubs began working in many depth and role players to get everyone who came out ample playing time. The teams battled back and forth trading scores and great defensive stands. With time running out, the Highlanders held a slim 24 – 23 lead over their opponents before Pittsburgh was able to touch down a try and a conversion with time running out. Pittsburgh Rugby Club took the win 30 – 23 over the Highlanders in a highly competitive and very entertaining match.

The sky darkened as the afternoon progressed and right as the Men’s Alumni began to take the field, the rain came. The Old Boys were able to play through the downpour in what was a high scoring and energetic game. In the end, the Pittsburgh Old Boys were able to best their Highlander counterparts before the sky cleared once again and everyone moved down to enjoy some great food, beer and conversation!

Forge Cake provided by player Brittany Marnell.

Fantastic food was provided by the club’s friends at Philomena’s Catering and served at the Magnolia Pavilion at White Oak Park. Cakes by Bee Leigh provided a wonderful Forge cake and t-shirts were made by our friends at Bee Graphix – Fredericktown. In the end, all the food and cake were gone, the beer was drunk and every t-shirt was sold out by the very hungry and enthusiastic crowd. Current players, supporters and alumni celebrated together well into the evening before capping off the night at our pub in the Southside, Rugger’s Pub. All in all, it was a tremendously successful and exciting event. If the day has any indication on the future of the Club and Pittsburgh Rugby, we’d say we are in for some very exciting times.



The Pittsburgh Forge Board of Directors, from left to right: Front – Angela Smarto, Brooke Gawlas, Olivia Lindsay, Gerri Russell, Kirsten Andrews, Back – Devin Zangaro, Corey Jacobs, Neil Reynolds, Chris Austin, Andrew Chapman, Bill Marnell, Sam Angelo.


Pittsburgh Angels and Pittsburgh Highlander Women following their match.


Pittsburgh Rugby Club and Pittsburgh Highlander Men following their match.


Forge Men Announce Allan Murray as Assistant/ D3 Coach

Allan Murray taking a pass for the Pittsburgh Harlequins.

PITTSBURGH, PA – The Pittsburgh Forge, the city’s newest and largest rugby club, is pleased to announce that Allan Murray has been hired as an Assistant/ D3 Coach for the men’s XV’s program beginning in August 2018.

Allan has played rugby for eleven years at both the collegiate and senior levels. His playing career began in 2004 while attending Slippery University for his undergraduate degree in Physical Education. There, Allan was able to assist SRU in winning the Allegheny Rugby Union Championship three years in a row from 2005 through 2007. During that time, he was also chosen for the ARU Select Side playing as an Outside Center in 2005 and then as a Flanker in 2006 and 2007.

Upon graduating from SRU in 2008, Allan began his senior rugby career playing for Coach Walsh and the Pittsburgh Harlequins in Cheswick, PA. Allan played at the Division I level with the Harlequins for four years, which included their bid to the Division I Sweet 16 in 2012 before leaving with Coach Walsh to join the Pittsburgh Rugby Club later that year. Allan helped Pittsburgh earn a Midwest Division II second place finish in 2013 before stepping away from the pitch as a full time player in 2015.

Allan began coaching while still a student and player at Slippery Rock University. In 2006, he began assisting the West End Wandering Barbarians and did so until 2009. That spring, he assisted the very same ARU Select Side where he played three seasons before as the Backs and Attack Coach. From there, he began assistant coaching the Woodland Hills Boys U-19 club in 2010 through the conclusion of the 2011 spring season. Allan would then move up to the collegiate ranks and serve as the Backs and Attack Coach for the

Allan supporting a teammate for Pittsburgh Rugby Club.

University of Pittsburgh’s Men’s Club from 2011 until 2014. Allan would then become the Head Coach of the program in 2014 where he remained for four years, until the conclusion of the spring 2018 season. Allan is currently a USA Rugby Level 200 certified Coach and a USAR Level One Certified Referee.

After graduating with his Bachelor of Education (BEd) in Health and Physical Education/Fitness from Slippery Rock University, Allan began his career as a Physical Education Teacher at the Woodland Hills School District for the past eight years.

Coach Murray is very excited about joining the Forge Men’s coaching staff and working with Coach Stephen Walsh once again. The two have worked well together over the course of six years for both the Harlequins and Pittsburgh Rugby Club. Allan will be tasked with developing a competitive second side comprised of young recruits and veteran players with some gas left in the tank. Allan expects the Division III side to compete regionally right out of the gate even while supplying the higher side with quality players when their number is called upon.

The Pittsburgh Forge’s Summer 7’s programming begins on Tuesday, May 22nd at Phillip Murray Field near Pittsburgh’s Southside. Training will be held every Tuesday and Thursday evening at 7:00 PM.

The club’s XV’s season will begin in August 2018. Any interested men are strongly encouraged to contact the club at