Men’s rugby team gets down and dirty as season begins

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Zach Morgan

Blood, sweat, tears, and testosterone. Add them all up and what do you get? The men’s rugby team.

Rugby is a sport full of lots of running, tackling, mud and, most importantly—teamwork.

Sophomore Zachary Kronisch values the teamwork aspect of the sport.

“We are very much a team family and no matter how good or bad we play, we all support each other and have a blast, which is what everyone really looks for in a team,” said Kronisch.

David Watters ‘11, played rugby all four years at Guilford and was president of the team his junior and senior seasons.

Watters enjoyed the combination of the hard work and team camaraderie.

“Everybody has to come together to get anything done,” said Watters in a phone interview. “There are individual plays in rugby, but you really don’t get anything done unless everyone is doing their job at the same time. We always play hard, but we all genuinely love each other.”

Rugby is a very physically exerting sport. With the eighty-minute-long games of non-stop running and tackling, rugby requires a lot of endurance and physical strength from its players.

“I enjoy the combination of physicality and endurance,” said sophomore William Dobbins in an email interview.

“The biggest challenge is the combination of football-like physicality and demands of soccer-like endurance. Rugby only allows three player substitutions a game, we play for eighty-minutes and the ball is live all the time.”

Whether the team is at the gym lifting weights or on the field performing running drills, there is rarely a dull moment at practice.

“It takes a different kind of athlete to motivate themselves to come out and play such a high-contact sport with no pads on for a non-varsity team,” said Kronisch.

“We definitely have a lot of heart and motivation for working towards success. Nobody wants to lose, especially after eighty-minutes of putting your hearts out on the field.”

Erin Fox, Director of Student Leadership and Engagement, enjoys supervising all club sports, including the rugby team. She helps manage their budget and provides overall organization and support to the team.

Fox, who appreciates the fun atmosphere of the rugby games, uses the word “charismatic” to describe the team.

“I’ve worked with a bunch of different treasurers and leaders, and they always come in and have big personalities,” said Fox. “They definitely have the ‘woo’ factor … ‘woo’ means winning others over. I like that about them.”

“I like that they’re enjoying their experience and that they’re happy about what they’re doing, and that they, tongue-in-cheek–as with their calendar project from a couple of years ago–aren’t afraid to let it all hang out there.”

The rugby team is enthusiastic about encouraging people to learn more about the sport and come out and enjoy the competition.

“The people that are willing to come out and support us are the best fans ever and are loud and fun … but there is definitely a lack of attendance,” Kronisch said. “The only thing that frustrates me is that people don’t come out and give it a chance because they are unfamiliar with it. If only people knew how amazing rugby is.”

Watters finds that even those who don’t know much about the sport can still have a great time watching.

“If more people heard about the sport, then more people would come,” Watters said. “It’s cool to watch. Nobody really knows what’s going on but it’s really cool to see a bunch of dudes run at each other and get all dirty and disgusting and beat the crap out of each other.”

While the dirt and physical brutality of the sport certainly make it appealing, Watters finds rugby to be an important part of personal growth.

“Playing rugby is a cool way of testing yourself, of seeing what you have inside,” Watters said.

“If you want to know how tough you are and if you want to know how to work together with people and function as part of a unit … It’s a good way of seeing what you’ve got.”

Come check out the next rugby match on, Feb. 18 at home to see what all the hype is about.