Rugby Invades WPU
Published: Saturday, October 30, 2010
Updated: Monday, November 1, 2010 10:11
This English style sport has invaded William Paterson University and it's not showing signs of disappearing.
Rugby is similar to football except that the players don't wear any pads. The only protective gear they wear is a mouth piece, head gear and the most important feature, the rugby shirts.
They have two goal lines with H-shaped goal posts on each side. There are 15 players on the field and none of whom can block like American style football (NFL).
The teams are divided into two sections, forwards and backs. Forwards are usually the bigger stronger athletes while the backs are smaller, faster and more agile. The backs are the ones who usually score most of the points. Unlike football there are no set formations and the way you score is by kicking the ball through the goal posts or crossing the goal line with the ball in your arms.
William Paterson's Student Government Association approved rugby in 2007 as an official sports club. William Paterson University Rugby Football Club (WPURFC) has been a powerhouse since its inauguration. It has won the Metropolitan Rugby Championship for Division III, three straight years and is working toward its fourth consecutive title as a first time Division II team.
Thirty-five members are cleared to play. Kevin Murphy, co-captain along with Pete Driscoll, said that this year's tryout was the largest in the team's history.
"We have had over 50 people come workout with the team."
Murphy also said that there are no tryouts and that if you join the club you are already on the squad.
"We as a team made a pact that we will never discriminate anyone from playing with us," he said. "No matter how much athleticism or experience they have. We don't want to be like most sports teams who only take the best player, we want rugby to be more than a game and we want it to be a social experience and a place for anyone to feel welcome."
During the 2009 season, the team was ranked as high as 4th out of 99 teams.
"We recently moved up to D2 this semester and are 3-0," Murphy said. "We are unsure of our D2 ranking but we consider ourselves to be an elite team throughout the country.
Some of the tournaments that the rugby team has participated in Metropolitan Rugby Championship in the fall and the state Championships, which brings every collegiate rugby team in New Jersey to compete for the Rickerson Cup.
"This past spring we finished in 2nd place losing to Princeton 10-3 in the championship. Princeton is a D1 club and we were a D3 club at the time. We played a great tournament and although came up short we feel as if we benefited greatly from playing such higher ranked clubs," Murphy said.
He was also named the 2010 MVP of the tournament and credited his teammates for all their help and hard work.
As the team headed into the season, its members had one goal in common: to bring home the division title. They are currently 4-1, having defeating schools like Hofstra, Marist and Sacred Heart. Their remaining game is at Seton Hall on Oct. 31.