Club rugby team comes up short


Story by Martha Landry, News Editor

In their third match of the season, against the UW-Madison Blacks, the UW-Eau Claire men’s rugby stayed strong for the first half but lost momentum in the second — ending the
game at 27-17.

Junior Jeremy Swick said he is not sure what happened in the second half but can credit the loss to fatigue and key players on the
sidelines with injuries.

“We were tied at the end of the half,” Swick said. “I don’t even know what we did wrong. That was the problem. We gave a little bit on defense and caused some holes in the line that they broke through.”

Senior Caleb Butera said the team lost some of their energy in the second half and were missing some of their starting players.

“I think our guys were getting worn down and substitutions were a lot of issues,” Butera said. “We are down some people due to injuries and that
hurt us.”

Coach Jake Fields agreed with Butera and said a few of their starting forwards were out due to injury and the backups had a lot of
pressure on them.

“We have suffered a lot of injuries and some of our very best forwards have gone out. We had guys who didn’t have quite as much experience playing and our very experience(d) veterans had to shoulder a much larger role than they typically have to do.  Near the end of the second half fatigue was a very large factor.”

Swick said the team played a good game overall, just were beat in the end.

“I feel like that was probably the best game we’ve played all year,” Swick said.
“It just didn’t work for our favor in the end so it’s
pretty disappointing.”

Fields said even though they didn’t have the most experienced forwards playing, they did a good job at keeping control
of the game.

“Our forwards really controlled the pace of play well,” Fields said. “We were able to use the ball for our advantage and we were able to use our athleticism or create gaps in
their defense.”

The Madison Blacks are an annual
competitor, Swicks said, and last year the
Blugolds beat them.

“We are always a good match for each other,” Swick said. “We play pretty competitively.”

Fields accredits Butera with the MVP of the game; as President of the club Butera leads the team on and off the field.

“I think the most valuable player was Caleb Butera,” Fields said. “He led by example all day long, his motor was going 110 percent all day long and he made lots of important tackles.”

With a 1-2 record, Eau Claire is looking to win their next two games and hope for the best when points are tallied at the end of the season.

Rugby is scored on a point system, instead of a win/loss system. Butera said it allows for teams to make up for mistakes and more truthful scores.  The Blugolds won’t know if they make it to sectionals until the season is over.

On Saturday, the Blugolds face UW-Parkside at 2 p.m. at Bollinger Field. Students interested in playing for the team should feel free to attend, no experience needed,
Fields said.