Coaches of the UCONN Rugby Team
Coach Merola began his rugby playing career at the University of Connecticut and now returns full circle as Head Coach. After graduating from UConn he joined the Hartford Wanderers Men’s Club where he held various team positions such President/Treasure/Captain and Coach until through the mid-90s. As player he was also selected to New England Rugby Union (NERFU) and NERFU Northeast All Stars teams.
Coach Merola started his collegiate coaching career at Trinity College Hartford (1995-2015) during which he organized and coordinated three international tours to England/Wales (1998) and Ireland (2001, 2005).
Coach is a USA Rugby Certified Level 200 Coach which includes safety and health training (concussion recognition/treatment), practice and game skills planning. He is also CPR certified and active member New England Rugby Referee Society.
Additional Coaching duties include Head Rugby Coach for Connecticut High School U-19 All Star Team (2010-2013) and currently Assistant CT U19 Coach.
Worcester RFC 1979-1981 Charter Member. I played Flanker.
Hartford Wanderers RFC 1981-2000 I played Flanker & #8.
HWRFC President 1997-1999
New England Rugby Referees Society 2000-Present, Attained B3 Grade
I’m currently a member of the Worcester Old Boys and the Wanderers and play as time and body permits.
As far as coaching goes, this is my first experience coaching rugby. I have coached Basketball and Lacrosse at the youth level. I feel honored to be working with Coach Merola and the student athletes at UConn. I’m currently working on my level 1 coaching certification and should have that in hand in the next couple weeks.
Played lock for Southern CT State University, New Haven Old Black and the Connecticut Grey RFC from 1981-2005. Toured in Scotland, Ireland, Barbados.
Players of the UCONN Rugby Team
Alex Bauer (Scrum Half)
Alexander Sawyer (Fullback)
Austin Toback (Hooker, Center, Flanker)
Dan Reichler (Wing, Fullback)
Francisco Ahumada (Prop, Flanker)
Jacob Burte (Fly Half, Wing)
Jake Pesci (Eight)
Jeff Funk (Scrum Half, Wing)
Jonathan Dupont (Fly Half)
Kyle Powell (Hooker, Flanker)
Liam Coll (Wing, Center)
Matthew Cozzi (Center)
Mwamburi Mkaya (Prop)
Nicholas Richards (Eight, Flanker)
Otto Holda (Wing)
Sam Carling (Flanker)
Samuel Hemley (Flanker)
Thomas Martella (Center, Flanker)
Uzair Abbasi (Fullback, Wing)
Zane Cooke (Flanker)
Krystian Michallik (Flanker)
Conor Riordan (Lock)
Will Woznicki (Center, Wing)
Billy Blatter (Center)
High Risk Sports Forms
Rugby is considered a “High Risk” sport. We can assume a sport where grown men are banging into each other, tackling, pushing, pulling or maybe tripping by accident; to be considered High Risk for personal injury. Below is a link to forms that must be completed prior to joining the UCONN Rugby team.