Rugby pushing for playoffs

Senior Mike Brownlow of the Eau Claire Rugby Federation Club is looking forward to Saturday’s game against UW-Whitewater.

The team will play at 1 p.m. at Bollinger Field.

“We get just as hard as hits (as football).”
Eric WeberSophomore

“We have high expectations,” he said.

The Eau Claire Rugby Club enters its match with a 3-1 record.

The only loss was against first-ranked UW-Milwaukee; it was the team’s first game of the season.

Scheduling moved up, sophomore Eric Weber said, and the team did not have time for any post-season matches to prepare.

Since then, ECRFC has been undefeated and hopes to add another win to its record.

If it wins, Brownlow said, the club has a chance of continuing its season.

“If we do end up with the best record or tie and have the most points, we’ll go to the playoffs,” he said.

There was a great turnout at their previous home game against UW-Platteville. Both team members encouraged people who wouldn’t normally watch rugby to come and support the team.

“We get just as hard as hits (as football),” Weber said.

Unlike football, rugby never stops after a single play.

For two forty-minute halves, the players keep moving, which, Weber said,
is a little more entertaining.

Brownlow said people should come simply for the experience of seeing something they haven’t seen before.

Another draw for the game, said the club’s coach Eric Huss, was that the team will be revealing a new penalty play that he said fans of all backgrounds will enjoy.

It has been several years since the rugby club has had a coach who wasn’t also a player.

Huss has played for 15 years and coached collegiate teams before volunteering to coach for Eau Claire.

“They’re a great bunch of guys,” he said.

Many players have had an excellent season, Brownlow said.

Weber and senior Matt Pope stood out to Huss.

“A lot of people have stepped up,” he said.

Brownlow said the club has gotten a lot of great new players.

“The young talent we have has been outstanding,” he said.

This proves to be a good thing, because Brownlow said he predicts that after the next three semesters, most of the starting line-up will have graduated.

Rugby, he said, is a game largely based on tradition and trust.

Weber agreed.

“You count on your teammates to protect you,” he said. “It’s not an individual sport. It does take 15 players to exceed in this game.”

With such a rich history behind rugby, the players have formed a sort of camaraderie.

Brownlow said, “We would kill for each other on the field and we would kill for each other off the field.”

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