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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Preview of Women’s Rugby

Photo by Annette Griffin ()
Photo by Annette Griffin ()

“Rugby is a rough sport,” said sophomore Maya Oliver, who has been playing on the women’s rugby team for two years. “It requires a lot of team work, a lot of endurance and basically just being badass.”This appropriately expresses the strength, the passion and the drive that it takes to play a sport as intense as rugby.

“I play rugby because I love to tackle people,” said junior Imeh Ntuen, who has been playing for the women’s rugby team since she was a first-year. “It helps me release a lot of my stress or else I will freak out.”

Ntuen, like many others, started out with some experience playing rugby, yet was not familiar with all the rules before she began playing for Guilford.

“Mostly everyone is new to the game, so you join in,” said sophomore Shelly Fanguy, who plays forward and is also match secretary for the team. “We don’t have a coach so it’s very team-oriented.”

Not having a coach can be tough and requires a lot more self-discipline among team members.

“Since we don’t have a coach, having a supportive group of people who are in the same situation helps us,” said team captain, senior Beth Belle-Isle, who has been playing for three years. “We need people with good leadership skills, who are willing to help the other less experienced girls.”

First-year Michaela Barnhart, who just recently joined the team, is one of many who started with no experience.

“I wanted to play rugby when I lived in Zambia, but it was for guys only,” said Barnhart. “It’s tough to learn, but my teammates are so amazing and really patient with the new players. There’s a large portion of new players, so it’s fun to learn it all together.”

Teamwork and spirit are very important in rugby, especially since the women need to rely on each other emotionally, as well as physically during a game.

“When you’re a forward, you are actually holding on to your team,” said Fanguy. “When you go into a ruck (when the ball is on the ground but you can’t reach down and get it), you latch on to your teammates to push the other team away from the ball.”

Even with impressive team work, the women face several hardships each year including finding enough dedicated players and organizing everything on their own.

“The downside to women’s rugby is that we don’t get as much support as the guys do,” said Ntuen. “But the good part is female empowerment. Rugby shows you how capable and powerful you are as a female and it teaches you not to be scared, because life is hard and so is this sport.”

Last year the team suffered from not having enough players, according to sophomore Maya Oliver.

“It was hard to keep our spirits high,” said Oliver. “But this year a lot more girls are into it, so I have high hopes.”

“I feel really good about this year,” said Isle in agreement. “We have a lot more numbers than last year and a lot of girls who have never played before, but they are very willing to learn.”

The team has been having a hard time scheduling game times and scrimmages, according to Fanguy.

The women’s first game that was supposed to take place on Sept. 15 was cancelled, and they have not played any scrimmages yet.

“As match secretary, it’s been getting a little stressful, but hopefully we will be able to get moving soon,” said Fanguy.

But the women are looking forward to their first home game, which will take place Sept. 29. They encourage the Guilford community to come out and support them.

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