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River Falls rugby takes to the pitch

April 6, 2006

On March 25, the UW-River Falls men’s rugby team took to the pitch for the first time of the spring season against St. John’s University.

There was still snow on the playing surface, but the men did not let it keep them down, and they came out ready to go.

By the end of the game, UW-RF finished with a 20-0 victory.

“A score is called a tri and you receive five points for it,” senior Travis Moe said. “Then, afterwards you usually kick a field goal worth two.”

However, on that day the Falcons were unable to kick the field goals because they couldn’t find the holes in the ground due to the amount of snow.

“It was a good game. We had good rucking,” senior Tom Johnson said. “That is something we don’t always have. There’s still room for improvement.”

The men on the rugby team work very hard, practicing three days a week. They practice every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. Saturdays are usually filled with bone-crunching hits on the field.

Moe said practices are filled with a lot of learning and practicing game scenarios.

The team here is a club team and doesn’t play under the Falcon name. The team’s name is The Fighting Cocks.

Johnson is the club president, and he works to deal with the school issues and has meetings with the team’s advisor.

“I also make sure our practices run smooth,” Johnson said.

This weekend The Fighting Cocks travel across the border to challenge Carleton College. The team is not entirely sure what to expect, but they hope to play well and come back to River Falls with another victory.

The team camaraderie is apparent when watching them play together. They are all there for each other on the field, taking hits and making plays.

“We all play for each other,” Moe says. “Everyone gets along, it’s like having another family here at school.”

The rugby season is not like other sports.

While most sports have one season, this sport takes place in two.

Like the women’s team, the men participate in games in both the fall and spring.

For both teams the fall is the more competitive of the two seasons, when the teams look for a playoff birth.

Even though they compete on Saturday, one of the Falcons’ most important weekends of the season is on April 29 and 30.

On that weekend the team will travel to St. Cloud, Minn., and participate in the All Saints Tournament, which is one of the biggest tournaments in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

“It’s a lot of fun, and you play two games on the first day and if you win you go on,” Johnson said.

Even if the team doesn’t win it’s a good learning experience, especially for the younger players.

Moe said that during the tournament they get a lot of playing time and they get to watch a lot of games as well, which is a great way to understand more about the game of rugby.

Luckily for both the men’s and women’s rugby teams here at River Falls, rugby is becoming more and more popular in high school, and more people are coming into the sport at the collegiate level with experience.

However, there is still a majority of the players that don’t know much about the game coming into it.

But with the continued interest in the rugby program, UW-RF should only continue to improve in the fut