Warthogs In the News

2012 Comcast Sportsnet short video on Oakland Warthogs Jose Pena who comes back to give back to his first rugby team!

Click Here

1/26/11 RugbyAmerica.org writes a great Article on Our Program : Warthogs Break the Cycle in Oakland

(Bottom of News & Updates)

1/17/2011 Paki's Corner

Advertises Our Program for Sponsorship!

 

1/11/2011 Eastbay Express Article

WAY OF THE WARTHOG

 

2009 San Francisco Chronicle : Rugby in Oakland's Fruitvale?

Excellent Article About Our Program In Our 2nd Season

News & Updates

As you may or may not know, we lost two of our former players, from our Championship season two seasons ago, in a car accident on their way back from Las Vegas 7's Rugby. 4 teenagers passed away in the accident and the lone survivor, who is a current player, is currently recovering in the hospital after coming out of a coma on Tuesday morning.

 

The families are experiencing emotional devastation along with funeral service or medical costs from this tragedy. The Warthogs are looking to make miracles from this tragedy by gathering our local community, the RUGBY community, and hopefully international community to come together to support the families. We expect the costs to be a minimum of $75,000 amongst the families and this is our fundraising goal. I am asking each of you to pass along this message to as many as possible, in whatever format you believe will assist us in obtaining this goal.

 

A simple way for us to reach this goal is if every youth, men's, collegiate, women's, and or any team to collect $5 from each of their players and send a check. For those that are unable to make a financial contribution, we simply request prayers for the families, our community, and the injured Hunter Halatoa.

 

Facebook Pages for the Families and/or our team :
Page for 4 Oakland Angels : Click Here
Page for Oakland Warthogs : Click Here

 

How to donate : Donations will be accepted through March 15, 2013.
A. Visit www.oaklandwarthogsrfc.com and hit the Donate button at the top of the page. Paypal and/or credit card donations can be performed here.
B. Contact Ryan Burke at burke4rugby@gmail.com if you want to send a check.
Donations are not tax deductible because the funds will go to individuals, not the public.

Newslinks of Accident
Funeral Services

Expected to be held on weekend of 2/23/13. Details as they become available will be uploaded on facebook pages noted above and www.oaklandwarthogsrfc.com

 

Benefit Concert Fundraiser

4 of the five passengers were part of the band Valufa. They are a good reggae genre band and made friends with all artists they played shows with so many of the good artists are paying tribute by playing a benefit concert on Saturday, March 2, 2013 in Oakland. More information to follow.

 

Who to contact with other questions Ryan Burke burke4rugby@gmail.com


Who passed away?

David "Momo" Moa 8 Man for the Oakland Warthogs 2011 NCYRA Varsity Silver Division Championship Team, son of David Moa of the Oakland Barbarians Men's Team. David Moa was a great kid and teammate that always showed up to practice and loved playing sports and being a part of a team. He was a load to bring down. He was often quiet although he was a singer in his family band Valufa. He was often quiet with a serious look on his face, so it was always a joy to get him to smile. He was attending and playing football at Laney College.

 

Soasi "George" Moa Tight Head Prop for the Oakland Warthogs 2011 NCYRA Varsity Silver Division Championship Team, son of Lani Moa of the Oakland Barbarians Men's Team. He was a joy to have around and always showed up on game day to compete for most meters after contact as well as broken tackles. He became more committed as the season went along and played a big part of us being a championship team. He was always good about cracking a joke at the right time and getting teammates to laugh and smile.

 

 

Rachel Fisi'iahi played front row for the Alameda Riptide team in the 2010-11 season. She always came ready to play, and her sense of humor and kindness were beloved by many both on and off the field. Rachel was always willing to put in extra work and time, and it showed on the field with her bruising runs. Rachel graduated from Oakland High School in 2011 and was a student at CCSF. She will be missed greatly by the Alameda Rugby family.

 

Malia Moa was David Moa's youngest sister who played the keyboard in the band Valufa. She was just like older brother, except not so quiet. She was fun to be around and wanted everybody to be happy and have a good time. She could be found cheering at every rugby game that David played in. She was a Senior at Castlemont High School, in Oakland.

 

 

12/13/12 Oakland Warthogs Warm & Feed the Homeless Community Service

Oakland Warthogs take to the streets of Oakland with warm clothing donated by our friends and family, and warm pizzas from Little Caesars pizza.

11/14/12 Oakland Warthogs Youth Rugby wins the Jefferson Award! 

CBS/KPIX Channel 5 News comes to practice to interview coaches, former and current players on the difference our program is making in Oakland. CLICK HERE to watch 3.5 minute video.

11/12/12 Oakland Warthogs Youth Rugby & The NFL Alumni Caring for Kids

Coaches met with Gary Weaver of the Northern California Chapter of the NFL Alumni.  NFL Alumni make a generous donation and agree to provide 12 NFL Alumni at a future fundraiser.  Gary Weaver even offers to visit high schools to advise kids to join our program!

8/1/12 8 of 8 Graduating Warthogs are Attending College

For the first time in 6 seasons, we have a 100% of our graduates attending college!

7/12 Siliveinusi Tomasi - Oakland Warthog - National Under 20 Team - Winner of World Rugby Trophy

Siliveinusi "Vei" Tomasi assists our National Under 20's team beat Tonga, Chile, Russia, and Japan to win the World Rugby Trophy. He will get to join the team in France next year as well.  He's very deserving and we are very proud of him.  Before this year, he had never left California!

1/4/12 Elite Rugby Camp USA Status

All five players enjoyed the camp and learned a lot. Siliveinusi Tomasi was awarded Camp MVP.  We played side by side with many players from the Sacramento area, including High School Rugby National Champions Jesuit!  Excellent job Vei!  Now it's onto USA Rugby Under 20's tryouts. Good luck!

1/3/12 Five Warthogs Make it to Elite Rugby Camp USA Northern California

Ethan Lee Willis & Elite Rugby Camp USA have made it affordable to the Oakland Warthogs to send 5 of our players to their Northern California Winter Rugby Camp.  Coach Soni Tupouata is taking two days off of work to drive our players to Sacramento, CA to participate in the two day camp.  We expect the 5 players we are sending to represent the Oakland Warthogs very well, while learning to play better rugby.  We look forward to them bring back the skills they learn and share them with the team. HUGE Thanks to Elite Rugby Camp USA!

Warthogs Breaking The Cycle In Oakland

January 26, 2011 Featured, High School/U19 Rugby, Rugby News

Drugs, violence, gangs, poverty, broken homes, and little hope are commonplace on the streets of Oakland, California. Crime rates in Oakland are double those of the national average in most categories and nearly triple in some of the worst. Socio-economic conditions are toughest on children as they are often forced down pathways that should never be an option for a child.

The reality of real life in Oakland does not care if children are fed, have clothing, or get a decent education.

Fortunately for some, an option exists… an option that gives members a sense of family, responsibility, and an emphasis on education. An option that is the polar opposite of taking the easy route towards drugs and a life in a cycle that becomes impossible to escape.

Founded in 2007, the Oakland Warthogs Rugby Club exists to provide that outlet and break the cycle of crime, violence, and poverty. The Warthogs provide a positive atmosphere where kids can learn the sport of rugby and the important lessons that are learned through the sport…lessons such as sportsmanship, leadership, brotherhood, teamwork, communication, and hard work.

“We discuss this every week, how Oakland has a stereotype for being thuggish and up to no good.  We represent Oakland and the best thing we can do is constantly prove that stereotype wrong,” said Warthogs Coach Ryan Burke on the values of coaching sportsmanship.

The brotherhood built in rugby is a bond that lasts a lifetime. Whether you’re playing in an elite program or just starting out with a local club. On the streets of Oakland and with the Warthogs it takes on even more meaning. Many of the players come from tough or broken homes and the camaraderie and bonds made through rugby may give them a sense of family that they never knew existed.

“The bond that it brings to people who go to battle with each other for 80 minutes and are willing to sweat and bleed for each other is exclusive!  Watching our kids get banged up, walk it off, and get back into the game because their team needs them is a great sacrifice to see from kids who aren’t very willing to sacrifice much.  They care more about letting each other down, than they care about letting a coach down,” adds Burke.

The Warthog program takes kids from 8th to 12th grade and consists of a diverse group of players… Tongans, Latino, and African-Americans make up the bulk of the participants. With most families at or below poverty level, covering expenses has been difficult for the program and playing numbers have fluctuated due to those issues.

To that end, the rugby community has stepped forward to their aid in a big way. In November, The Olympic Club’s Foundation donated $5000 to the Oakland Warthogs to help with expenses. Other rugby companies have also come to the aid of the Warthogs, including Jim Carlberg of Liquid Rugby who donated “Player of the Week” t-shirts to the program.  The Warthogs have also teamed up with Dallen Stanford of Tackling Cancer for some of their fundraising efforts.

“It’s cool for people to support our program.  They see our program and support it because they believe they are assisting in disadvantaged kids lives.  That’s why I do what I do.  Then I find out the absolute craziness that these kids endure and it makes me pick up my game and push harder to get our program big enough to help more and more kids have something to do besides stay at home where things suck worse than most of us can imagine,” Burke injected.

Then the Warthogs inadvertently played part in the creation of the TRY Program that takes donations of rugby jerseys and equipment to pass along to teams in at-risk areas who lack the funding to buy equipment. Originally a simple request from the Oakland Warthogs to Kevin Sullivan of Rucking Insurance, the concept took on a life of its own and has grown into a national program.

The Oakland Warthogs were the first recipients of donated gear from TRY. Players that previously wore t-shirts to practice, only to see them torn to shreds, were given rugby jerseys donated from many fine American rugby people.

“The kids were pumped to get the gear.  They were trying to cut in front of each other to grab their jersey.  The San Francisco Fog had provided us some used jerseys at a Saturday practice, weeks ago, when they let us borrow their scrum sled and use their pitch so that the kids could see what a real pitch looks like,” said Burke in regards to the TRY donation.

“One of the kids that was at that practice and got a jersey asked if he could trade that jersey for the one he picked out from the Try Donation set.  I can’t find the right word, but it was moving to me that this kid has it so tough that he thought we’d only allow him one jersey.”

Just as soon as the Warthogs received their donations, Coach Burke taught the team a little lesson in paying it forward. With the overwhelming support the club received, the team turned around and donated some equipment to another struggling inner-city club in the Stockton Saints.

The lesson paid off as not long after Bill Birdsie of Roadwise Construction built the team a scrum sled. Not just any scrum sled, but a deluxe sled that stacks up to any one built by companies that make sleds for profit.  

“Seeing a disadvantaged kid have something to smile about is awesome, when you really know that kid and all the crap he goes through with family life or the lack thereof,” said Burke.

“The kids dig looking like rugby players instead of basketball players.  They wear their gear to every practice.  If everybody got to experience the difference they make in the lives of brand new young ruggers and/or brand new disadvantaged young ruggers, they would make it a priority to get their gear out of their closet and make the donation!”

Rugby is a shining beacon in an otherwise tough and bleak outlook in Oakland. The realities of the street can and have taken the lives of kids. Some of which could easily have been Warthog players had they not had the opportunity to play rugby and have an outlet to give them focus and hope of reaching new heights.

The goal of introducing the sport of rugby is secondary to the real important work being done for the players that are currently or have played for the Warthogs. Teaching core values, stressing education, and pushing the players to break the chains and move onto becoming productive adults.

“We want to make the biggest impact we can with each kid that comes through our program.  We want every one of them to remember back at the hard work they put in, the fun times they had, and the lessons they learned with us.  We have no intentions of slowing down or taking a break in our efforts to continuously improve all aspects of our program.  We plan to keep this program alive and for some day to be a great rugby program serving multiple rugby teams of youth in Oakland.  It is our goal that in the near future, every one of our participants ends up not only graduating high school, but also obtains a college education or attends a trade school to be successful after high school,” Burke gleamed about the future of the Oakland Warthogs.

Burke also offered advice for others, working with (or considering) rugby programs in at-risk areas.

“For teams starting up in at-risk areas…NEVER QUIT!  It’s a lot of work and so many challenges starting up a program. Plan to have very little parent involvement, support from the city officials, and very little support in general. “

Starting any rugby program is a difficult task with many issues that can derail your efforts in the blink of an eye. Dealing with those same issues are magnified in areas that lack funding to support sports programs.

“You have to hunker down and ruck over every challenge put in your way,” finished a passionate Burke.

To learn more about the Oakland Warthogs, visit their website. You can also watch a promotional video below telling the story of the Oakland Warthogs.

You can contact Warthogs Coach Ryan Burke at burke4rugby@gmail.com