UW-Eau Claire men’s rugby ramps up

UW-Eau Claire men’s rugby begins their fall season

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Kaitlyn Zenner

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UW-Eau Claire men’s rugby ramps up

UW-Eau Claire rugby team played in their first scrimmage this past Saturday Sept. 29.

UW-Eau Claire rugby team played in their first scrimmage this past Saturday Sept. 29.

Photo by SUBMITTED

UW-Eau Claire rugby team played in their first scrimmage this past Saturday Sept. 29.

Photo by SUBMITTED

Photo by SUBMITTED

UW-Eau Claire rugby team played in their first scrimmage this past Saturday Sept. 29.

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The UW-Eau Claire men’s rugby team dove into their season earlier this September with a total of 27 members on the roster.

Jonathan Tomasoski, president of the rugby club and third-year student, said the team has seen a lot of growth since he started playing three years ago.

“My freshman year we had eight guys, and right now we have 27,” Tomasoski said. “My freshman year, we didn’t have any coaches and now we have four full-time.”

With this increase in players, Tomasoski said a major factor that has contributed to the upkeep of the program has been fundraising done by the team.

As the team continues to grow, Tomasoski also said the team will be trying to go to the national championship, which they did not do last season. 

“Typically, every school that’s division two or three don’t have rugby as a varsity program,” Tomasoski said. “It’s all club, but all the schools still play for a national tournament. We have national qualifiers, semifinals and then based off the team’s record a team will go to the national championship.”

Jordan Mason, a fifth-year student and the current vice president of the rugby team, said the team had its first scrimmage against Milwaukee School of Engineering this past Saturday, Sept. 29, which helped them to see what the team needs to improve on for the future in their games.

“We had our first match of the season at Oshkosh,” Mason said. “We lost to MSOE 29-10, but it was a scrimmage match, so it didn’t count against us or for us. It was more of a preseason game to see where we’re at and to gain more experience.”

The rugby team commits to practicing and improving their skills for 10 hours each week, Tomasoski said, which is less intense than a varsity sport on campus.

“We have about seven to eight hours a week for practice and then we have games on Saturdays, which is pretty much an all-day thing,” Tomasoski said. “It’s not a forty hour a week commitment like varsity sports on campus, but it’s not an intramural by any stretch of the imagination.”

While there is a commitment to practicing and working hard, Mason said the team is always having fun.

“My favorite part of playing on the team is the comradery and the brotherhood,” Mason said. “It’s a great group of guys. It really brings us together in a cohesive unit on and off the field.”

Tomasoski said that anyone thinking about joining the team should go ahead and try it out, regardless of previous experience with the sport. 

“We practice from five until seven on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at Bollinger Field,” Tomasoski said. “Anyone is welcome as far as skill level. I’d never choose another sport. Rugby is definitely what I’m passionate about, and I’m glad that I have the opportunity to lead this team.”

Zenner can be reached at [email protected]

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