By: Chris Oliver, Vanguard Staff Writer
More than just a contact sport, the men’s rugby team has grown from a group of friends who wanted to get dirty into a unique social experience students can’t find anywhere else.
Since the club’s formation in 2008, the number of people on the team has gradually risen and the fan base has also grown at a steady pace.
Co-founder and team captain Mike Brennan said that he views it as a miracle that the team even took off.
“We first started with 15 players, barely enough to actually field a team,” he said. “We received help from the local men’s rugby team in the area, the Tri-City Barbarians, to get going, and it has been student-run ever since.”
Brennan explained how this sport, which few students know about, is a unique experience.
“It’s the huge social experience that really separates rugby from other sports on campus,” he said. “You make a ton of friends from all over the Midwest on other teams, and your team is basically your family.”
After each match, the home team hosts the away team and supplies food and drinks. The two teams socialize with one another and anyone is welcome to join in on the fun.
While rugby may not be the most popular club on campus, junior Nick Zuber added that the lack of popularity really contributes to the closeness of the team itself.
“We’re really not that popular,” he said. “So we have a very tight-knit group that’s a lot like family.”
The game of rugby itself is simple, according to Brennan.
“Rugby takes minutes to learn, years to master,” he said. “Overall though, it’s simple.”
Many have called rugby a combination of football and soccer. A game is 80 minutes of continuous play with no stoppage.
There are 15 players per team with one referee.
The object of the game is to keep possession of the ball and to score “trys,” which are worth five points.
Following the try, there is a conversion kick which is worth two points. The conversion kick is similar to an extra point in football.
There are also no forward passes, with only backward and lateral passes allowed.
Also similar to football, field goals exist in rugby, but the drop-kick style kicks must be attempted within the constant flow of the game as there are no breaks.
Zuber said that the game can be hard to explain and that students could learn more by watching.
“You can understand the game a lot better once you see two teams going at it and actually playing,” he said.
Brennan also emphasized that the team is always looking for new members and new fans to come out and watch the game being played.
“It’s truly a beautiful game and anyone can come out and play, no experience necessary,” he said. “Just come out and watch and have fun with the team.”
The rugby team plays on Saturday or Sunday on the intramural fields, typically in the afternoon or evening. Games are free.
For more information on the rugby team, students can contact Mike Brennan at email@example.com.
The next home game is 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9, against Oakland University.