Men’s rugby looks forward to fall season

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The men’s club rugby team gears up for the 2022 fall season with a handful of new members. (Photo courtesy of Matt Cherry ’23)

Lafayette men’s club rugby season looks promising for the team as they gained a handful of new members at the involvement fair and only graduated three members of the team from last year.

The rugby team, coached by Daniel Benedict currently consists of about 20 members. They practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at Metzgar Fields and are part of the Mid-Atlantic Rugby Conference, to which they pay league dues. This fall season, Lafayette will compete against Division III teams like Millersville, Gettysburg and DeSales.

The team was scheduled to play against Auburn University last weekend, but the game was postponed as both teams decided they weren’t ready to play just yet.

Senior Vice President Matt Cherry explained that it is harder to get games going during the first couple of weeks of school because a lot of the teams in the league started practicing together before school even started.

The team has a pretty even mixture across all experience levels. Some of the new members played in high school, most of the upperclassmen have been playing at Lafayette since their freshman year and there is a handful of members that have never played before.

“They’re picking it up really quick, so we’re excited,” Cherry said of the newer members.

The team dynamic is a positive one, as they are known to spend time together outside of practice and games and get dinner together after they play.

Additionally, Cherry said the men’s team has a good relationship with the women’s rugby team.

“A lot of times we’ll split the field with them or run drills with them,” he said.

The rest of the team’s executive board consists of sophomore President Tommy Goslau, senior treasurer Boris Shmuylovich, and co-secretaries seniors Sam Arnold and Michael Kobayashi.

Cherry explained that in the fall, they play “15s”, in which there are 15 players on the field. In the spring, they play “7s,” which they have had a lot of success with. The 7s are more tournament-style with longer games.

“I spent a lot of the summer emailing incoming students asking if they want to play, just to get information out there and get them out to practice sooner,” Cherry said. “We’re looking forward to getting the freshmen out there playing 15s in the fall.”

A common stereotype is that rugby is very dangerous because they don’t wear protective equipment. However, Cherry believes that because the players don’t wear helmets, they are less likely to use their heads and get concussions.

“Right now we’re trying to just try to turn the program around and win games,” Cherry said. “We lost numbers after COVID and kind of took a bad turn, but right now we’re trying to get the numbers back up and win games like we have in the past.”

Cherry emphasized that the team is open to students no matter their experience level with the sport.

“If you want to come out to a practice, there’s no experience required,” he said. “We’ll get you ready to play, the team environment is great, and we’d like to see a lot more people.”

Lafayette will be playing their first matchup of the season this weekend on the road against Penn State Berks at 1 p.m.