Rugby is an intense, and highly physical sport that is growing in popularity nationwide, and UNC-Greensboro is also a part of this growing trend of those interested in the sport. As UNCG is home to both a Men’s and Women’s rugby club, who are both in the beginnings of their new seasons.
In a sitdown with Eric Johnson, a senior and the president of the men’s rugby club for the past two years, he told me simply, to succeed in the sport, practice is a must. Johnson, who has participated in the club for four years, explained about how the club prepares each week during the season. The team gets together for official practices three days a week for two hours every week. Along with that, they put together unofficial practices two-to-three days a week. Johnson said “They are optional for anyone who wants to get better”.
The women’s club prepares weekly as well for their monthly contests. The group gets together three days a week to prepare for upcoming games. Each week the captains and coach get together to set up a strategy of attack for their practices. Amanda Beard, also a senior, is the president of the women’s club and has participated in the club for 3 years. Beard talked about how the practices are broken down so each player can improve throughout the season. “One day is for skills, another is for fitness, and the last day is for game simulation,” Beard said.
There is no shortage of games for these clubs either. The men’s club plays what is known as “fifteens in fall,” which means each team plays with fifteen players. During the fall semester they take on opponents such as UNC-Charlotte, East Carolina, Western Carolina and Appalachian State University.
The women’s club takes part in a gluttony of games as well. Amanda Beard told me they play at least 10 games, probably close to 15” each year. They also participate in two tournaments per year. One of these tournaments is located in Boone, North Carolina, while the other takes place in Savannah, Georgia.
As with any sport, it takes certain character traits, and actions in order to succeed in rugby. Eric Johnson would explain what he thought were the most important tools necessary to do well in the tough game of rugby.
“Dedication, and being at every practice were vital in order to grow and make an impact in the game” Johnson said. Johnson also added “ working out, even when you don’t want to” is a great way to advance your skills and prepare yourself.
To go along with this, Amanda Beard said “having a good attitude, and being respectful” is also a great way to improve yourself. Beard added “it is very important to be respectful not just to leaders, but to teammates as well”.
With all the the game can give you if you remain dedicated, the two presidents also talked about the abilities rugby would provide off the field as well.
“Mostly what I’ve gained is to step up and have leadership skills” Beard said. “I’m a business major, so that will definitely help.”
Each club are also planning on getting involved in the local community this year. They are currently trying to settle in for the new year, but Johnson said “once we have stable members” they plan on coming up with ways to help out on campus and around the community.
Both teams have upcoming games that are both spread out in the region, and are on campus. The women’s club has their next match on September 19 at Guilford College. The club has two more matches on campus this semester. They will hold an alumni game coming up on October 17. They also will play against Elon on November 7.
The men’s club has a upcoming home game against UNC-Charlotte on September 26. Following the late September match, they will host East Carolina on October 16, and will play their own alumni game the following day. All of the home games are played on the recreation field on campus at UNCG.