The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Rugby team causes ‘ruck’-us on field

 Rugby team causes ruck-us on field
Rugby team causes ‘ruck’-us on field

Rugby team causes ‘ruck’-us on field

The Mustangs rugby team grasped a 29 – 0 victory last Saturday against their cross town rival TCU. A player broke from the pack, running to score his first try. With solid scrums, aggressive rucking and well-executed lineout play, SMU won another match.

While this might sound like gibberish to some SMU students, it’s all in a days practice for the members of the SMU Rugby Club.

The rugby team was established in 1974 and is one of SMU’s 18 club sports. The main goal of the sport is to keep possession of the ball for a longer period of time than your opponent, scoring tries along the way. Fifteen men per side or team occupy the field at one time.

“The game is tough to play because it takes a lot of energy, ” said veteran player Mark Swadener. “It’s a game of strategy, there are a lot of things you have to do while on the field so you don’t get hurt and can score points.”

The 20-member team practices Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 – 7 p.m. to prepare for Saturday games. The team plays Southwest Texas this Saturday at 2 p.m. on the intramural field. Swadener says he is confident they will gain another victory.

“Southwest is a team with big, rough guys, so we’ll have to tackle hard and ruck well,” Swadener said. “But since they’re big in size they’re not going to be as fast.”

SMU’s team prides itself on being able to outlast opponents based on an elevated physical fitness level. Most of SMU’s players have a leaner build that lends itself to lasting an entire match or game.

A match consists of two 40-minute halves with no free substitution. That means that once you sub out, you can’t re-enter the game. In Texas Rugby Union matches, each team is only allowed to use six substitutions.

It’s important to have plenty of gas in your tank if you plan on playing a full rugby match.

Rugby consists of more than just 80 minutes of intense physical activity, there’s also a social side. Swadener says that there’s a strong sense of camaraderie between players.

“You go to battle on the field only to go to the pub after the game,” Swadener said. “We go out with the guys whether they’re on our team or not.”

With a year-round play schedule, the team is constantly looking to add players to the roster and keep the numbers strong. Most new recruits have never even played rugby or learned any of the rules. The same was true for most of the team’s veterans.

“Rugby’s great, especially when you learn how to play,” said first-year player Chris Herzog. “Only a couple weeks after joining the team, I found myself in the middle of a battlefield. After a semester, I’ve earned a starting position and have more of a head for the game. It’s a lot of fun.”

Many players with no prior rugby experience took starting positions this year as older players have graduated.

Most have football or soccer experience of some kind and are able to adapt to the rules and strategies of the game.

“There’s always a spot for guys who like to run and hit,” Swadener said. “It’s a work hard, play hard type of thing. It’s all worth it.”

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