Rugby makes history as first team to reach Division I

Staff writer

The St. Edward’s University Rugby Football Club (SEURFC) recently became Division I, and is the first team at the school to ever reach this level of competition. The team started off as Division III and climbed to Division I status, and is the only small college rugby team to have done so.

After reaching Division I status, officers decided to compete in two conferences, the Division I Southwest Conference and the Division II Lonestar Conference, with a mixture of fifteen-man and seven-man matches. The rugby coaches suggested the team compete in both leagues, using fast-paced seven-man matches for practice and preparing for the fifteen-man matches through workouts.

The team had an undefeated season last year and is currently undefeated this season.

“A lot of our winning has to do with our fitness,” said senior Captain and Vice President Zach Chad.

Chad says that the team has added crossfit training twice a week to their daily practices.

Rugby has become a sort of unofficial substitute for St. Edward’s football team. The team has seen hundreds of fans at some of their home games, which can equal, or even outnumber, some of the NCAA teams’ fan turnout. This has to do with how connected the club is on campus, as many of its members also participate in many other extracurricular activities outside of rugby.

The roster of the team has grown with the popularity of the sport on campus, and the team’s presence on campus has even been a selling point for freshmen and international students interested in attending St. Edward’s. According to Chad, the team does not turn a single member away, regardless of physical or financial abilities. Members from the team come from all over the world, including Spain, Thailand and Zimbabwe. The roster currently hosts about 45 players and two competitive teams.

“There’s some guys who have never played and don’t even know how to touch a rugby ball,” said freshman Daniel Lane. “But the coach builds your skill level. The first day of practice, you don’t have to know everything…slowly, every week, everyone learns more and more, and then he’ll give you game time. His mentality is to build, slowly.”

Being a part of SEURFC gives members a network.

“It’s like a brotherhood,” said Lane. “It’s a lot of hard work and commitment … you know you’re working just as hard as the other forty guys on the team, so it bonds you.”

SEURFC members hope to build on their unprecedented, record-breaking levels of success with plans to compete in the Southwest Conference championships and the Lonestar Conference Texas Playoffs.

The team is hosting their second home tournament this Saturday, October 6, 10 A.M., against Lamar, University of Houston and University of Texas at Austin at Burr Field.