Men’s rugby opens fall season in style with win over Plymouth State

By Josh Rosenstein

Men’s rugby, pictured in navy, returned to action last Saturday. Courtesy of Shirley Mao

Men’s rugby opened their 49th season in dominant fashion on Saturday, defeating Plymouth State, 22–0. After a year without competition due to Covid-19, the club showed little rust in their return to action. 

 

Rugby is returning to a somewhat normal season this fall, compared to last year when there were only captains’ practices due to Covid-related rules. And after an intense preseason, the team has high expectations for this season. 

 

“Seeing what we can do as a team against real competition is exciting,” captain Griffin Shapiro ’22 said.

 

Men’s rugby is unique compared to other club sports in that the vast majority of its members are completely new to the sport when they join. While the transition to the sport is often difficult, it allows coaches to teach players the fundamentals of the game, so they learn how to play the right way. It also creates an open and welcoming atmosphere for any students looking to join.

Courtesy of Shirley Mao

“Being new to rugby, the coaches and captains explained everything really well which made it easy to learn how to play,” said John Hodulik ’24.

 

The Panthers play under National Collegiate Rugby (NCR), where they play in the New England Rugby Football Union (NERFU) division. The winner of the postseason tournament for the division earns an automatic bid to the NCR Division II national tournament, where the team has had past success, including winning national championships in 2007 and 2009.

 

“Come out. It’s a lot of fun to watch, and a good gathering,” Shapiro said. “There’s always people on the sideline that are happy to talk about it, even if they only know a little bit about the game.”

Courtesy of Shirley Mao

Men’s rugby is back in action on Saturday, Oct. 2, in Connecticut against the University of New Haven. 

 

Caption for Feature: The men’s rugby team plays under National Collegiate Rugby (NCR), where the winner of the postseason tournament for the division earns an automatic bid to the NCR Division II national tournament.