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Men’s rugby club team finishes first at Nebraska tournament

April 8, 2015

The UW-River Falls men’s rugby club team recently got back from a tournament in Nebraska where the team won first place in the “7’s bracket” and second place in the “15’s bracket.”

Rugby can be played with a different number of players on the field at once. The rugby team participates in 7’s, which is seven players playing on each team, and 15’s, which is 15 players playing at once.

According to UWRF senior and rugby player Joe Fletcher, the team has played in about 11 games with a lot of success throughout the whole year and have a important tournament on April 11.

“This coming weekend we’re going to Iowa for a national qualifier,” Fletcher said.

According to Fletcher, if the team wins a couple of games, it will qualify for the Div. III national’s for 7’s in Colorado later this year. Fletcher went on to say that it’s a lot of fun to play and the team is really close, and he wouldn’t be surprised if the team can make it to nationals in Colorado.

“We have a lot of speed on our team,” Fletcher said. “I think we are better than most teams.”

According to the Rugby team’s website, the team was established in 1997, but Fletcher said it has been gaining popularity with the students in recent years. The team has a roster of about 45 players, but around 30 of them show up to play. Fletcher is one of the few players on the team that had previous experience playing rugby before he came to UWRF.

“Most of the kids have no experience at all when they come to play. They usually show up as a freshman looking for something to do. They might not want to play football or track or something like that, so they come to us,” Fletcher said. “Everyone is welcome to come and play; we don’t really care if you’re a big guy, small guy, athletic or not. You show up, you’ll get playing time.”

The rugby team practices every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on the intramural fields, so if you’re interested in joining just go to practice or visit the team’s website. With the team’s recent success, Fletcher said that he would not be surprised if more people became interested in the sport with the popularity of rugby growing more and more every year.

Rugby is not a official athletics team at UWRF, like softball of basketball. Rugby is one of 12 sports clubs that are currently listed on the UWRF website. The website describes sports clubs as recognized student organizations, so they’re ran by students. The clubs also have a faculty advisor. Sports club are more competitive and organized than intramurals. It also says that if you’re interested in making a new sports club then it may be possible.

UWRF sports clubs include the dance team, Jiu Jitsu, men’s and women’s lacrosse, Nordic ski, paintball, rock climbing, men’s and women’s rugby, tennis, and men’s and women’s volleyball.