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Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The ups, downs, scrums, mauls of the club rugby team’s undefeated season

SEU+rugby+football+club+members+practicing+their+scrum+with+a+scrum+sled.+A+scrum+sled+is+meant+to+imitate+the+conditions+that+occur+under+a+scrum.+Several+coaches+and+other+people+stand+on+the+scrum+sled+to+model+the+weight+of+eight+people.
Tate Burchfield
SEU rugby football club members practicing their scrum with a scrum sled. A scrum sled is meant to imitate the conditions that occur under a scrum. Several coaches and other people stand on the scrum sled to model the weight of eight people.

After several leadership changes and a new crop of student athletes, the St. Edward’s club rugby team nears the end of its season with a 5-1-0 record, having tied only one game against University of Houston’s rugby football club.

Although officially coached by a group of adults and headed by coach Preston Reine, a lot of the leadership of the club comes from within its ranks. As a student organization, the club is run by sophomore president Eli Perkins and junior team captain Remigio Vitores.

Vitores is someone who has been playing rugby for 13 years, but has only recently stepped into the role as team captain.

“I used to help make drills and assist practices, but now I really have to give it my all. To be a leader in rugby you really have to lead by example,” Vitores said. “I also have to lead off of the field as well by going to the gym and continuing to push myself.”

For some of the incoming  players, the dedication shown by the team’s veteran players  is what drew them in. 

“Seeing the rugby players hang out off the gym and being a brotherhood is what got me out there to join them,” junior Eli Johnson said.

Communication and connection is essential for such an intense and physical sport. Players must be on the exact same page to execute the intricate processes required in a rugby match. Encoded calls are shouted by the teams to give players directions to evade the other teams. 

Vitores believes that team’s success can be traced back to the synergistic connection between players and teams. 

“We are playing for everyone who shows up to our games, it really means a lot to us,” Vitores said. “We try to play well for all of the community watching us. When players start to win, it fuels them to win some more.”

Though the rugby team has long been a staple on the hilltop, it lacks the institutional support that the other Division II sports have.

“Being a club team, there is definitely a level of respect not given to our team — despite being undefeated,” team flanker James Williams said. WIlliams is one of the many freshmen who have joined the program this season.

This struggle was illustrated with the convoluted events of their homecoming game against LeTourneau University. What was set to be the culminating event of St. Edward’s homecoming week and their first home game was moved to a venue off campus. 

Rugby is a sport centered around adapting, and the team has to face difficult situations relating to the practice soccer field on campus where they train. 

“Our current practice situation is in a field where there are no lights, so we have to cut our practices shorter in the dark,” Vitores said. “Which means less practice time. When it rains, the field becomes muddy, making practice more difficult.”

The team is set to play one more match against Sam Houston University’s B Team on Feb. 3 before heading into the playoffs in late February.

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About the Contributor
Tate Burchfield, Staff Writer
Tate Burchfield is a first year student on the hilltop, and this is his first year writing for Hilltop Views. He is interested in politics and the arts. He is from Galveston Native and is excited to spend his time in Austin with Hilltop Views.

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    Mike PrendergastJan 31, 2024 at 7:54 pm

    At what establishment is the 3rd half held? Mike Prendergast ’62

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