For the first time ever, students will be able to watch the women’s rugby team biff, bomb and bust in their first game against Portland State University Saturday, Oct. 25.
The women’s rugby team has been years in the making. After practicing with the men’s rugby team but being restricted from games, senior Sterling Bax, senior Mabel Flores and junior Alexis Johnson took recruiting to a new level by tabling, setting up at the club fair and reaching out to students through email.
As of Oct. 16, the women’s rugby team is recognized as an official club sport and boasts 12 players.
“We got a lot of interest at the club fair,” said Flores. “We just needed to get an official game on the books to get the numbers at practice.”
Johnson said the team expects to
increase their numbers to 20 players by the spring season and expand their play from games of seven to games of 15.
Because it is a brand new team of inexperienced players, Bax said the girls threw themselves into the game and picked it up as they went.
“It was really trial by fire,” Bax said. “The only way to learn the rules of the game is by playing it because the technicalities are really complicated.”
Flores said the team spent a lot of time on drills and passing. She said they are just now getting the hang of how to tackle.
The team can be found duking it out at Cannery Field Sunday and Tuesday nights, playing a “casual and competitive” style of game, according to Johnson.
Flores said because the whole team is new to the sport, the girls are incredibly supportive of each other and understanding of their lack of experience and the new learning curve.
“We are all just having so much
fun,” Flores said. “We get out there and work our butts off and are complete dorks doing it.”
Flores also stressed that they are always looking for new players and women are welcome to join anytime and they will be welcomed.
While safety and a laid back atmosphere is a priority for the team, a serious competitive edge is very apparent in each of the players.
Bax laughed about the “scrappiness” of her teammates as she showed off a bruise acquired from a rough practice.
All joking aside, Johnson said safety is highly enforced and the coaches spend a lot of team teaching the team how to hit and how to be hit.
Flores said a big challenge with learning rugby is that a lot of the rules are backward in comparison to the typical rules of football, like stepping with non-dominant feet and passing backward, but that the team is doing a great job picking it up and staying
The game against PSU is the only
game scheduled for the fall season but Johnson said they plan to play five to eight games in the spring season and compete in a tournament.
The team does all of the scheduling and programming is coordinated between Head Coach Ben Dictus and the team.
Bax said rugby is growing a lot in popularity and, as such, the team has found a lot of competition in the area. In the Pacific Northwest, there are six collegiate women’s rugby teams and two women’s rugby leagues in Portland.
Bax said a part of the popularity has to do with the unique traditions.
“Rugby is a really unique sport in that you beat the Shit out of each other in a game and then go have dinner and bond as competitors and players after,” Bax said.
The upcoming game will begin at 12 p.m. and the team hopes for a large turnout of fans in their debut.