A rugby revival

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Ready to watch the hum of the scrum while the cheers from above lift up your being to more than a thrum? Yeah, that’s right. Rugby is back.

The Saturday game of rugby has returned to UD’s list of classic traditions. The rugby team was mostly unseen last year due to COVID-19. They were only able to play two games in the spring after playing a grand total of zero the previous fall. “It was basically a year off,” said junior forward Caleb Skinner.

The hardships of last season have intruded this year as well. 

The team was scheduled to play SMU. The day of the match the team was ready to go, having prayed a team rosary and enjoyed a brunch. However, two hours before the game was scheduled to start, the team was informed that the game was canceled due to a trainer on the SMU Rugby team having tested positive for COVID-19. 

Of course, SMU is not to blame, but this event is an indication of the slow start the team has had to endure so far. 

The team’s motto has been to put the past aside and look forward to the next week. Captain of the rugby team Dominic Valentine said, “We’ve had a delayed start to the season, which has been frustrating but also has made the team even more excited to play.”

Luckily, things are looking up. The team has its schedule and is all set to play in early October, and they are determined that they won’t be the reason a game is canceled.

A large number of freshmen have shown interest in joining the rugby team and many have joined. President of the rugby team senior Matthew Quinlan said that he is impressed with the group. 

Valentine added, “The amount of skill and experience many of these players have has raised the bar for both new and returning players.”

Team morale is very high. Everyone is excited to get back on the field. Last year a lot of obstacles had to be overcome which only served to make the team even more ready for this season to start. Quinlan said, “Last year is in the past. We are looking toward this year and [we’re] excited.”

The team is aware that COVID-19 has made things challenging and more difficult to navigate, and they know they have to get used to it. High on the team’s list of priorities is avoiding outbreaks and being both prudent and adaptable.

The team resides in tier two of the Lone Star Conference, which is part of American College Rugby, which is part of USA Rugby in a roundabout, hard-to-understand kind of way.

The team is set to play eight games, with their sights set on making the state playoffs which commence at the end of February. The team even has a chance to make nationals in May.  Valentine said that although he tries to refrain from being overconfident before the season starts, his “expectations for this season are very high.”

Yes, the triumphant return is real. Rugby is back and they want you back. Nothing says rugby like a screaming mob cheering on a group of battle-hardened ball chasers. Like Chuck Noland needs Wilson, so the rugby team needs you. While the latter can operate without the former, it’s best when the two are together.

“This year in general is a big deal. We’re back. UD is back. We want to lead the way and reinvigorate the social aspect of UD that was kind of lost. We’re ready to play and excited to be back,” Quinlan said.

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