The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Club sport focus: Women’s Rugby

    Submitted photo

    Club sports focus is a bi-weekly feature article that will detail the different club sports that UW-Eau Claire offers.

    The UW-Eau Claire women’s rugby season came to an end Sunday following a weekend tournament in Eagan, Minn. This was the first time in five years the team made it to the Midwest Playoffs.

    “It’s pretty exciting,” said Sarah Laplante said prior to the tournament. Laplante usually plays eightman for the team.

    The top two or three teams from states around the Midwest participated in the Midwest Playoffs, and the Blugolds gained entry as the third seed from Wisconsin. They lost Saturday to Winona State University (Minn.), 0-52 but pulled out a win Sunday in overtime against North Dakota State University, 15-10, ending the season with a win and a 4-4 record.

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    The greatest accomplishment for the team this year was definitely making it into that tournament, Laplante and junior club vice president Lindsay Savat said.

    “This year ., our team overall is a really strong team,” Laplante said, adding the players all worked well together. “We have a really strong connection with all our team. . We all get along really well.”

    Savat, generally a flanker for the team, said one their strengths this season was that they had more experience than last year. “We have a lot of sophomores on our team,” she said, “. rookies last year, and now they’re second year in.”

    Nevertheless, she said, something they need to work on for next year is getting more experience for the first-year players, although they contributed to the team’s success as well.

    “We have a lot of really good rookies this year,” Laplante said, “so next year, we’re going to lose a lot of really good seniors, but we’re going to gain a lot of good players too. . The team definitely is building up.”

    Rugby is a club sport at Eau Claire, and the women’s team was started in 1997, according to the club’s Web site. Every year, they have to petition to get funds from the sports club, Savat said, but the players still end up covering a lot of the cost.

    “Rugby is a really expensive sport,” she said, “as far as we have dues that each player has to pay. We have your individual dues for USA rugby, the team has Wisconsin dues, they have Midwest dues, they have USA rugby dues . our coach has to pay dues. So that all adds up to a lot.”

    “And that’s just to play the sport,” Laplante said. “And then you have to figure in . your uniforms, travelling, cost of going to tournaments and playing other leagues.”

    To help cover these expenses, the team occasionally holds fundraisers, they said, such as the one that will take place Nov. 9 from 4 to 9 p.m. at Noodles & Company, 4653 Keystone Crossing.

    “Ten percent will go to the rugby team,” Savat said.

    Looking ahead to next year, the team is trying to recruit new players, Laplante said.

    “There were games when we didn’t have any subs, so we would have to play all 80 minutes. . Other teams could sub people in, so they had fresh legs, and we were still struggling.”

    “You don’t need any experience,” she added. “. We don’t wear any pads. You get to tackle people and have fun, hang out with cool girls. . It’s a really good social club as well as a sport.”

    Quoting an email they had received a few days prior, Laplante and Savat described rugby as “the only sport you can play where you wear short shorts, you can dance and the football players are still scared of you.”

    “It’s a good time,” Laplante said.

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    Club sport focus: Women’s Rugby