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Sports Club Spotlight: Men’s Rugby

retrieved from UWL Men's Rugby Facebook Group

retrieved from UWL Men's Rugby Facebook Group

Skyller Smith-Davis, Sports Reporter

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Of the 25 club sports offered by the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, few have grown in popularity as much as Rugby. This sport has roots that go back as far as the early 19th century and is most commonly associated with countries like England, Australia and New Zealand.  

“One reason the fans should be interested in the game is because of its history,” explained UWL Senior and Men’s Rugby team member Kyle West. 

West became interested in the sport of Rugby after watching the 2016 Summer Olympics, which was the sports debut for a variation of Rugby called “Rugby Sevens”. The last time Rugby was featured in the Olympic games was for one year in 1924, according to Olympic.org.  

Rugby Sevens is when seven players from each team are on the field competing at a time. It is a faster and shorter game than the more traditional Rugby 15s. UWL Men’s Rugby plays both types with15s in the fall and Sevens in the spring. 

West stated, “I like 15s more because the games are generally more competitive and also because it requires more strategizing than sevens because there is less open space, so you have to be smarter with the ball.”  

This year has not been going that well the Men’s Rugby as they have been plagued by the injury bug, but West in his second year with the team stated, “I think we will make a recovery in the spring and win more games.” 

West said he started playing rugby because he missed competition and wanted to try something new and the physicality of it makes it different than other sports to him.  

The physicality part comes from people running at each other with no helmet or pads anywhere on their bodies. With no forward laterals allowed as is common in American Football, the ball is only allowed to be lateraled behind the player with the ball and the only way to advance the ball is by running or kicking it.  

“Even without much padding, I feel rugby is safer than football because players do not lead with their heads and hit as hard as possible,” said West.  

According to the team’s description on MyOrgs.com “Men’s Rugby is open to all male students who enjoy a physical contact sport, travel and sportsmanship. Rugby is the game that American football is derived from. It is an exciting non-stop, intense game that can be played by its participants years after college. No experience is needed to join. Rugby is players year around.” 

“Rugby is a game that you do not need any experience to play. I didn’t know how to play until two years ago,” said West, “but the team and my coaches taught me and got me up to speed. It is a fairly straight forward game once you get the hang of the rules.” 

The UWL Men’s Rugby team competes at the Division 2 level. Games and practice take place at UWL’s North Campus Field. 

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Sports Club Spotlight: Men’s Rugby