The Rugby team, established last year by sophomores Nick Stephens and Andrew Skagerberg, plays a lesser-known sport on campus, but one that has steadily grown since its creation.

 “We get more people coming to practice every day,” Stephens, the team captain, said. “We have a good shot at winning the D3 championship.”

Although Stephens and Skagerberg have played rugby since high school, the team does not have many seasoned players.

 Regardless, the team was able to defeat St. Mary’s University in its first game 22-15.  Skagerberg hoped for a more decisive victory, but he is optimistic that the team will fare better in its first cup game against the University of Houston, Oct. 16.

“We weren’t conditioned as well as we would like to be, and they caught up,” Skagerberg a political science major, said. “I think we’ve improved in the last two weeks, and the new players understand the game better.”

But the rivalry doesn’t extend off the field. “After the games, the teams usually get together,” Stephens said. “It’s not like football where there’s rivalry. After the games, we’re cool with each other and have fun.”

Skagerberg said he can tell a lot about people by the way they handle themselves at practice.

“It tests people’s characters,” Skagerberg said, “when they keep coming out even though they’ve been injured.”

Stephens and Skagerberg agreed that the best part about rugby is the sense of brotherhood that comes with going through such a physically demanding sport together.

“It’s a bonding sport,” Skagerberg said. “You become a lot closer as people. It helps when you get pancaked by 200-pound men, and your players have to pick you up and tell you where you are.”

Skagerberg currently has a pulled groin, two rolled ankles, a tweaked hamstring, two pinched nerves in his back and cramps in his calves. These injuries occurred in just two weeks of playing.

“On the field you know your teammates have your back,” Skagerberg said. “Off the field when people know you play rugby they have respect for you because you have what it takes to play.”

Stephens is still looking for more players to complete a 30-member team.

Skagerberg attributed some of the interest to potential players watching the team practice—rugby is, until football begins, the only club sport allowed to tackle. Skagerberg also emphasized that experience—even knowledge about rugby—isn’t required for a student to come to practice.

“No tryouts,” Skagerberg said. “Just come out. If you like it—stay.”

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