Coaching Staff


Julius Togamau “Toga” Fanueli

Toga has been the Head Coach of the Washington Irish RFC since January 2015. Prior to joining the Irish, Fanueli was Head Coach of the Washington DC Furies Premier 15’s, Division II and 7s teams. He also served as the Furies Backs coach from 2009-2012. As Head Coach of the Furies, Fanueli made an immediate impact helping them win the Premier division of Ruggerfest 2014, contend for the USA Rugby Division 1 National Championship two years in a row, and finish 6th Nationwide in 7s in 2013 and 2014.

Fanueli had an extensive rugby playing career, starting on the Samoa U19 and U21 National Teams, playing at both the U19 and U21 World Cups in Chile and France. Fanueli then moved to Auckland, New Zealand to play for the Senior 15s squad at Ponsonby Rugby Club. He later was selected for the Samoa 15s A Team (2001-2004) as well as the Samoa Sevens Pool (2003-2004). He moved to the United States and was selected to the Mid-Atlantic Rugby Football Union (MARFU) All-Star teams from 2006-2009.

Currently Fanueli is also a Coach for the Stars Rugby 7s team, an international select-side touring team and the Head Coach for the Capital Union Women’s Union Select Side team.  Fanueli is a World Rugby Level 300 Coach, Double Goal Coach and is National Federation of State High School Associations Concussion (NFHS) Certified.


JP Perez

JP joined the Washington Irish in the spring of 2015.  Prior, he was the head coach at Georgetown University Men for 12 years, leading the Hoyas to 3 Potomac Rugby Union (PRU)  Division 2 Championships, 1 Mid Atlantic Championship, 4 Cherry Blossom Tournament Championships, and finished in 3rd place in 2 National Championships.  He began coaching at Gonzaga College High School.  As head coach, he led the Eagles to its first 4 PRU Championships, 2 Cherry Blossom Tournament Championships and finished in 3rd place in 2 National Championships. JP coached the PRU High School/College Men Select Sides and the Mid Atlantic Collegiate All-Stars for 7 years.  JP was the Potomac College Men Conference Director for 7 years.  JP played in the forwards at Gonzaga High School and Catholic University.


Brendon Worley

Brendon began coaching during the Fall season of 2000 helping out at Boston College. By late 2001, he was the head coach. After several years of rebuilding, in the Fall of 2004, the Eagles came away with an undefeated regular season and the program has been on an upward trajectory ever since. In 2007, after graduating from grad school he spent 3 seasons as an assistant coach for the Wolfhounds developmental squad and D3 squad. He joined the Irish and became part of the coaching staff in the Fall of 2008. The Irish have reached the playoffs every year that Brendon has been a part of the coaching staff.

Years with Irish: 8

Prior Club(s): Boston College RFC, Boston Irish Wolfhounds RFC

Playing History: Boston College 1994-1998, BIW-RFC 2007-2008

Certifications: USARFU Level 200 Coach


Steve “Duma” Johnson

Washington Irish 7’s Co-Coach 1994 – 1999 (MARFU)

Denver Highlanders Assistant Coach Summer 7’s and 15’s Summer Mountain (ERRFU)

Black Ice Women’s 15s Backs Coach 2004 – 2006 (ERRFU)

Northside High School Men’s and Women’s Backs Coach 2004 – 2006

Washington Irish Co-Coach 7’s 2007 – 2015 (MAC)

Washington Irish Assistant Coach D3 2015 – Current (MAC)


Darryl Cross

Darryl started his rugby career in 1985 at the age of 15 after finding one of the few high school teams on the East Coast, West End RFC, located in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. He served as Captain for his junior and senior years and led West End to the East Coast HS Championship in 1987.

Darryl played for James Madison University Rugby as well as served as the coach of their Women’s Club throughout his undergraduate education. Darryl moved frequently for work and played with numerous senior Men’s teams and in tournaments throughout the United States. He was affiliated for 7 years as a player/coach for Virginia Rugby Football Club in Charlottesville, VA, and became Head Coach of the club in 2016.

Upon moving to the DC area, he immediately sought out the finest club he could find in the region—the Washington Irish. Darryl has served as an assistant coach since 2018 focusing on defense and disrupting the flow of the opposing attack line.

In addition to his 36 years in the rugby world, Darryl is a consultant to corporations on team development and performance, a certified Master Fitness Trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and the author of the book, Cultivating Excellence: the Art, Science, & Grit of High Performance in Business.


Matthew Bales

Matt has a BS in Exercise and Sports Sciences and is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA.  He has coaching experience with high school, Division-I, and  professional athletes.  Also, Matt has had the opportunity to learn from some of the top coaches in the industry including Dan John, Dean Somerset, Tony Gentilcore, Joe DeFranco, and James “Smitty” Smith.

Matt spent five years at Underground Athlete (Fairfax, VA) as Head Strength Coach. During his time at Underground Athlete he was voted 2016 Best Personal Trainer of Fairfax (Sun Gazette). He also spent a semester coaching athletes from a variety of sports at George Mason University.  Matt has also interned in the strength and conditioning departments of Radford University and Virginia Tech.  Recently, Matt made the move to McLean Sport and Health to be  Assistant Fitness Director.

When it comes to physical preparation Matt likes to keep it simple. “The goal is to provide a challenging and evidence based stimulus that creates change. Focus on the work, make it fun, and win the recovery. Do this and you will find success in your training.” Matt also plays rugby for the Washington Irish RFC. He has set a goal to play 7s in the 2020 Olympics.

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