Rugby team rucks new season as popularity soars

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Becca King

Occasionally when a person goes to a rugby social, they will encounter a chant that the rugby team proudly yells: “Saturday is a rugby day.” The energy used in the chanting displays how both the men’s and women’s rugby teams are proud to be rugby players.

Both the men’s and women’s rugby team come together to celebrate playing hard for 80 minutes. It’s not just a team sport; it’s a sport of brotherhood and sisterhood.

Rugby is not the type of sport where if one player is not playing then the team feels like they will lose; it does not have a superstar on the team. Every player on the field and bench is important.

“I like rugby because it mixes together a lot of the common generalizations from other sports into one big non-stop display of athleticism,” said Mike Frazier who is the senior forward and rugby social chair. “There is the running involved from sports like soccer and the physicality is somewhere along the lines of football.”

“The best part of rugby for me is the atmosphere that the team creates” added Frazier. “Everyone on the team is like a family member and they are all treated as such. An 80 minute rugby game is really taxing on the body and the mind so it helps to have 14 brothers out on the field with you and, consequentially, that relationship exists off the field as well.”

Rugby used to be very popular until after the 1924 Olympics when it was dropped from the Olympic program, but has started to rise in popularity once again.

There are a lot of reasons why the rugby teams at Guilford College are so popular. The main reason is that rugby players are friendly and they invite fans and other people to their social events just to have fun and interact with them.

“I think the rugby culture is so popular here at Guilford because the rugby team strives to represent a lot of the same principles that Guilford is all about,” said Frazier. “We accept anyone who wants to give the sport a try, or just wants to hang out with us, on and off the field.”

The women’s rugby team struggled in recent years to just get a win; however the team has experienced a huge gain in attendance at the matches, and shows a lot of promise for this upcoming year.

“I expect a lot from the women’s team this year.  We have a lot of talent and committed players,” said Peach McCarty, senior forward and captain of the women’s team. “Having George coach us and Dan last semester really helped us get to be competitors this year.  I have full faith in my team to score some wins this year.”

The women’s team last season proved to be a winner, and there certainly is a lot of excitement for the team this season.

“I think we will be successful this year because we became friends on and off the pitch last year,” said McCarty. “Rugby is a tough sport and it is hard to put yourself on the pitch and subject yourself to tackle after tackle if it is not for someone you know has your back. Getting closer as friends allowed us to play better as a team.”

Last year, the men’s rugby team struggled to field the minimum team of 15 as injuries hurt them. It was sad to see the season cut short, however the team is excited for this season due to having 32 players on the roster, more than double of last year’s team.

“This year, people should expect to see us competitive in our conference,” said Frazier. “We have a great group of guys this year who are just as committed as they are talented.”

“Rugby is one of the most fun things I have done at Guilford,” said McCarty. “I am so glad to have done it and the team these past years, as captain, has made it really worthwhile.”

It should be an exciting year for rugby, so get out there, cheer and enjoy it.

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