Club Spotlight: Club Rugby


Courtesy of Club Rugby

Club Rugby played a game at Army West Point this semester.

Emma Cahill, Staff Writer

Looking for a close-contact sport filled with excitement on the field? Look no further than Villanova’s club rugby team. As one of the many club sports Villanova has to offer, rugby stands out from the rest due to the thrilling nature of the sport. Ever since its establishment at Villanova back in 1959, the rugby team has provided an outlet for students’ athleticism to thrive. 

Like all club sports at Villanova, club rugby has its own set schedule for practices and games. With two practices a week on Pike Field, some conditioning and a pre-game walk-through, the team has sufficient preparation for their games. 

“Our games are almost always exclusively on Saturdays, and this season, we played 10 games in 11 weeks,” junior Joe Young said. “We started early this year and had a match the very first week we got back to campus as part of our pre-season. We then kept the tempo up and played a match week after week till we got to nationals” 

However, unlike all the other sports at Villanova, rugby has a reputation for being a particularly intense sport due to the close contact nature of the game. Despite this fact, rugby is not considered to be dangerous by the team. Since the team learns to play the game a certain way and takes secondary measures to prevent risks, this seemingly intense game is actually quite safe. 

“There are lots of rules in place to keep players safe along with proper safe tackling technique always being one of the first things players are taught,” junior Joel Casingel said. “Other than that, we always make sure to stretch and warm up properly along with prioritizing recovery the day after games.” 

During this season, club rugby worked hard and participated in many games. The team played in what is known as the “15s season,” which means that there are 15 players on each side of the ball for an 80-minute game. This season, the team’s hard work advanced it to nationals, which was a great achievement. 

“We had a very successful 15s season, reaching the Mid Atlantic Rugby Conference Championship and qualifying for Nationals,” junior John Duggan said. “This was the first time we had qualified for Nationals since 2018, where we reached the quarterfinals.” 

However, being a part of club rugby is more than just practicing and partaking in games. It is also being a part of a tight-knit community. For its members, club rugby has given them a sense of what it means to be a part of a brotherhood. United by a common interest in the sport, members not only get a chance to showcase their athletic abilities but to also form lifelong friendships. 

“I originally chose to try rugby out after I saw the team at the activities fair and knew a little bit about the sport from my family,” freshman Charlie Gorman said. “I wanted something which would keep me active and to meet new people. I get so much more out of this club than I could have ever expected. I have met some great guys and have had a very fun time with this team”

Specifically for freshmen, club rugby is a great way to bond with upperclassmen and to get to know more people when first coming to college. Freshman Nate Caruso discussed his experience with club rugby and how he felt welcomed into the team. 

“From my experience, rugby exemplifies camaraderie more than any other sport,” he said. “The moment you join the rugby team, you join a brotherhood. As a freshman, I have been on teams where the underclassmen are barely part of the team. On the rugby team, the upperclassmen make sure all of the freshmen go to every social event to get to know them and make sure they are comfortable on the team. I could not have asked for a better group of guys, they all really care about me along with the other freshmen. My favorite team bonding memory is the car ride home from our game at West Point. It was only the second week of preseason, and I really got close with the team on this trip.” 

Looking toward the future, club rugby looks forward to its spring season. Switching up from the 15s season to a 7s season, the game will change a bit. In anticipation of the spring season, club rugby is feeling very prepared. With a great group of players and lots of team spirit, the team is excited about what will come. 

“After losing our play-in game in nationals, our 15s season is over for the Fall,” junior Thomas Criswall said. “However, our club also fields a 7s team in the Spring. For those who may not know, 7s is the equivalent of arena football for rugby. With a lot less contact, there are a lot less players on the field but a lot more scoring. It is a great way for new, inexperienced guys to get more playing time and get a good feel of the game without as much contact. This group we have right now has a strong core of dedicated players and some very promising underclassmen. I could not be prouder to be a part of our club right now and believe we can make some deep playoff runs in the near future” 

It is clear that club rugby has a bright future ahead for next season, and many fans cannot wait to see what is in store for them. If anyone is interested in joining club rugby, there is no prior experience necessary and no tryouts or cuts, and one can reach out to [email protected] for any potential interest.