Photo by Garret Van Wie ’22 | The Rugby team and players warm up and practice for the current fall season.
By Quentin Dunnigan ’22
With the first of two seasons of rugby having begun, the players are ready to work hard and train well. Looking to the future, they hope to overcome their challenges and bring in a state championship in the later, spring season. “I really want guys to push themselves beyond what they thought they were willing to do, what they were willing to accomplish,” said assistant rugby coach Mr. Tim Moran.
Brophy rugby is made up of two different programs, with the “7s,” or “sevens,” season in the fall and the “15s,” or “fifteens,” season in the winter. The current, fall program, the “7s,” is made up of seven minute halves with seven players on the field and two minute half times, allowing the game to run for about 15 minutes.
The team began their season in late October of 2019, and players have been practicing every week since then. Practices occur Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays with games taking place either during practice or over the weekends.
“There’s two seasons and ‘7s’ is the one before, and so, we’ve only played scrimmages,” said returning rugby player, Owen Reinhart ’20. With the “7s” season serving as a prelude to the “15s” season, its goal is to prepare players for games and tournaments against other schools. Therefore, the “7s” season is made up mostly all practice and preparation, though there are smaller tournaments between schools that happen often.
The rugby team, unlike most other Brophy sports, has one team rather than both a JV and Varsity team.
“Our biggest thing is just being inclusive, not having this division between JV and Varsity, making it one team, altogether, trying to essentially accomplish the same mission,” said head rugby coach, Mr. Steve Ciarfalia.
The team itself is made up of around 22 players, needing 20-23 players to practice and play. “I would say our numbers are equal to what they’ve been last year. We’re a little lower this year because the football team is in the playoffs,” said Mr. Moran.
Reinhart touched on this topic and further said, “Usually we have athletes from football and stuff come in once the football season is over.”
This leaves the rugby team to, at times, rely on the football team for some of their manpower, often in the later, spring season due to the longevity of the football season. “We live and die by those senior football players that are looking for another sport… we live and die by those seniors that want to come out and experience another contact sport without pads,” said Mr. Moran.
Looking to the future of not only this season, but next season as well, both the coaches and the players are hopeful for a positive season.
Coach Moran explained that this years “forward pack,” made up of returning players such as Reinhart, Matt Nickerson ’20, Patrick Grindey ’20, and Patrick Leonard ’20, is a strong group that is essential to the team.
Comparing this new and upcoming season to last year’s, the team is hopeful that they can go beyond where they had gone in the championships last year and take home a victory.
When asked his hopes for this season and for this year of rugby as a whole, Reinhart said, “To win championships. I think we’ve got a great chance this year.”