Rugby looking to recruit

Misty Olawunmi, Staff Writer

The UTSA Men’s Rugby team recently competed in a tournament hosted by St. Edward’s University, going undefeated with a 6-0 record. With another great performance under their belt, the team wants to spread the word and invite anyone to join the wonderful world of rugby. The Paisano recently interviewed some players from the team.

The team is currently playing rugby sevens as opposed to rugby 15s, which they play during the fall semester. While similar, there are a few key differences. 

“[Sevens rugby] is kind of similar to 15s in a way,” Sinjin Ramirez said. “We play on the same size field, but it’s seven players rather than 15 players. So it’s a lot more space on the field. It’s going to be a lot more running. The games are going to be shorter, a lot more fast-paced.” 

A close-contact sport, rugby is a stark departure from other contact sports like American football and ice hockey. Rugby is often rough, but underneath that surface lies a sense of community.

“So when I started playing rugby, it opened me up into a new world. The camaraderie is just everything. I fell in love with the sport,” Dana Francis stated. “I think the notable experience is just like how welcoming the people and community are.”

Currently, the team is looking for new players, welcoming anybody. Unfortunately, recruiting has not been the best, but they hope to change that.

“It’s not what we hoped for it to be right now. We’re trying to put some steps in place to improve it. It’s kind of just word of mouth. Those who are interested in rugby find out, and they come and join,” Ayden Luster said. “We’ve invited a couple [of] high schools out to our practices. We’re talking with the high school kids in the area. We’re hoping to reach out to some teams in Houston, Dallas and Austin.”

The team also offers times to learn more about the sport to anybody interested in joining. Level of experience does not matter as anybody with any ability is welcome to join, showing how the team aims to be inclusive.

“We also do the Wednesday intro to rugby sessions. We just did that this season,” Lloyd Brookman stated. “Anyone at any level can learn to play rugby.”

“We pretty much welcome players all year round. We do [the intro to rugby] every few Wednesdays, and then we’ll kind of explain to new players how to play, slowly introduce them into the game rather than throw them into the fire right away,” Ramirez stated.

If you’re interested in learning more about the sport and what it’s all about, come out to their games and support the team. While there, you might just find something more than just the game. 

“Come watch our games,” Franklin Johnson said. “Come watch like maybe the professionals around San Antonio [and] the men’s clubs there because there’s always going to be someone in the crowd.”

“You lose nothing by coming out. You might gain a few friends. You might actually fall in love with the sport like I did,” Luster stated. “It’s pretty much a win-win situation.”

For more information about the men’s rugby team, visit their Instagram @utsamensrugby.