The University of South Carolina Men's Rugby program was ranked 22nd this week in the American Rugby News top 25. Undefeated so far this season, the Gamecocks (4-0) have been making waves of late with a miserly defense that only gave up 15 points in four games at the recent Palmetto Union tournament and only a single score last weekend in a win over NC State.
"We enjoy the ranking and the publicity of it. It is a reflection of the hard work of the players and the coaches to continue to improve and to persevere," Head Coach Geoff Mason said of his team.
The poll comes ahead of a stiff weekend of competition for USC in the form of the SEC tournament. Held over two days, Oct. 24 and 25, the tournament takes place in Birmingham, Al.
"This weekend we play in the SEC tournament and if we win our first game against Ole Miss we would play LSU in the semifinal," Mason said, "They are ranked 5th or 6th nationally and are an excellent team. We would have to play lights out to beat them. They are much further along than us with many more high school kids that have played etc."
Though LSU and many west coast teams are further ahead when it comes to engaging experienced youngsters, USC has been doing very well at recruiting themselves. USA Rugby released statistics of the biggest clubs in the country by members with the Gamecocks ranked as high as 3rd.
"The number of kids that are coming out is tremendous," Mason said. "We have about 70 that show up and we run three sides, with 6 coaches. We are trying to introduce as many kids to the game as we can and it is wonderful to see the progress of our "c" team and some have moved up to the b side. It also makes a fight for a starting position mean something when you have that many trying to get on the field."
Though the numbers out on the field and being recognized is a boost to the Gamecocks program, Mason and his squad a realistic about rankings coming so early in the season.
"I think they are reflective of results to date but it is hard to say unless you play head-to-head if one team is better than another," Mason said. "It also depends on who you play as well -some teams are playing their matrixes in the Fall and others like us, do not play the matrixes until the Spring. So strength of schedule makes a real difference. Also, a lot of teams do not play many games so not likely to get ranked. Generally, I would say that the West Coast has the better rugby."
American Rugby News' Top 25 College Sides
1 (1) California (idle) 
2 (3) Utah (6-0) 
3 (4) BYU (idle) 
4 (5) Navy (6-0) 
5 (6) Dartmouth* (10-1) 
6 (7) LSU* (2-0) 
7 (9) Delaware* (5-0) 
8 (16) Colorado* (6-2) 
9 (2) Arkansas State* (2-1) 
10 (8) Army* (0-0-1) 
11 (11) Penn State (4-1) 
12 (12) San Diego State (idle) 
13 (13) St Mary’s (idle) 
14 (14) Arizona (idle) 
15 (15) Cal Poly (idle) 
16 (10) Kutztown (5-2) 
17 (20) Central Washington (1-0) 
18 (21) Bowling Green (8-0) 
19 (18) Texas A&M (idle) 
20 (19) UC Davis (idle) 
21 (17) Colorado State* (4-4) 
22 (unranked) South Carolina (4-0) 
23 (22) Florida (3-0) 
24 (23) Syracuse (4-1) 
25 (24) Harvard (4-1)