Rugby players ruck through rainy season

_werugbyCourtesy of Zachary Morgan Jr.
Scrum. Tackle. Ruck. Hooker. Prop. Knock-on. No, this is not a random string of words. These are rugby terms.

If you have never heard those terms before, it is okay — many people have not. But for the men’s and women’s rugby teams, they are an important part of a game they love, a game that brings people together not just on the field but as a community.

The rugby clubs have had a strange season this semester. Many games were rained out, so neither team played more than three contests all semester.

“We won our first game, so that was awesome, and that got us pumped,” said senior Amanda Wimer. “A lot of the teams that we usually play in the area are dropping out because they don’t have enough players, so we didn’t play a lot this semester.”

Senior Becca Bacewicz said that they played four games the whole school year and won three of them.

“We’ve won more than the men’s team,” said Bacewicz. “You should put that in the article.”

“This semester was very interesting especially when it came to the weather,” said senior men’s team president Brandon Wagstaff. “We had many home games, but it rained so much that we only played two, and we lost both of them.

“A lot of our newer guys weren’t able to really experience rugby through the game.”

Wagstaff said that the key to performing better next year is recruitment. New rugby players, known as ruglets, are prized members of the rugby teams. Since rugby is a relatively unknown sport and people do not know much about it, recruiting ruglets can be difficult.

“A lot of our players are seniors this year, so a lot of the team is leaving,” said Wagstaff. “It’s up to the younger guys to step up. Hopefully, they will do a good job recruiting new players.

“Sometimes it’s hard to recruit for rugby because people get scared. They think of it as football without pads, which can be intimidating.”

The women’s team did well with recruitment this year, bringing in many new faces. Because many scheduled games were rained out, the more experienced team members decided to take this semester to really educate the ruglets on the ins-and-outs of rugby.

“We love the ruglets, we absolutely do,” said Wimer. “Teaching them how to tackle is my favorite because the first thing they want to do is hug you around the waist to bring you down, which really doesn’t work. So, the first thing we teach them is how to bring someone down around the knees.

“Once they learn how to tackle, they fall in love with the sport.”

Many players’ favorite part of rugby, besides the tackling of course, has nothing to do with being on the field. The best thing about rugby is just being on the team.

“I love the team,” said senior A.C. Canup. “The team is where it’s at. You just gain this family of people who have your back and like you for you and needs you for you because everyone has their own use. That goes for not only on the field but off the field because everyone has their own job in the friend group.”

“I love how it’s very team oriented,” Wagstaff said of the game. “That’s one of the things that really got me into it. You have to rely on others to succeed. Rugby is all about supporting your teammates.

“It is a club sport. We aren’t here to win championships or anything; we’re here to have fun.”