Rugby team loses openers
Although it lost both games of its season-opening tournament Saturday at Platteville, the UW-Eau Claire men’s club rugby team played well, senior Adam Mc Clurg said.
In the first game of the tournament against UW-Stout, Eau Claire fell 20-7. Mc Clurg said his team fared well, considering Stout was the state champion last semester.
In its second game of the tournament, Eau Claire came up short against Marquette University, 20-10.
Mc Clurg, who is the coach and a player on the team, and two of his teammates also play on a Select Side team for Wisconsin, he said. The team members travel around the Midwest and practice all over Wisconsin.
Mc Clurg’s Select Side coach was at the tournament watching the collegiate club play. Mc Clurg said the coach was impressed with the level of play by Eau Claire and its competition.
“Our Select Side coach said it was the best rugby he’s seen played in Wisconsin,” Mc Clurg said. “(He also said) the competition was fierce for this early in the season.”
The team now is getting ready for the Border Battle, a tournament hosted by Eau Claire on Saturday, April 17. Both the men’s and women’s rugby teams will host the event, and 20 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Special Olympics, junior player Anthony Frick said.
The men are hard at work learning the fundamentals of the game, Mc Clurg said.
“We’re mainly working on the basics,” he said, “rucking and being able to continuously pass the ball.” He added that keeping a constant flow throughout the game is a team priority.
In addition to playing competitive rugby, both Frick and Mc Clurg said camaraderie is an asset on and off the field.
“You have to have an intense bond with your teammates,” Mc Clurg said. “You all have to be in-sync; it’s really important.”
Frick also said the particular mood of the day contributes to how well the team plays.
“We match up very well (against other teams); it’s just catching us on a good day,” Frick said. He added, “We have all the potential in the world, and we can beat any team. We just have to realize how good we are.”
With brand-new players joining each year, the returning teammates go through the process of training freshmen in the fall, Frick said.
“You get godfathered into coaching the younger players,” he said.
Frick also said the potential for new students to experience the game of rugby extends to spectators.
“Basketball’s over, football’s over and if you’re ready for some contact sport, come watch rugby,” Frick said. “Unlike football, we let the spectators right on the field.”