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WSU rugby’s season draws to a close

Nathan Michel
Weber State rugby player, Dalan Long.

This story has been edited as of Nov. 13, 2023

Rugby is a physical, strategic and versatile game. There is a camaraderie among teammates that is unlike any other sport. Here at Weber State University, the men’s Rugby Club is an example of that.

JJ Lee, president of the club, plays scrum-half on the field and is a junior studying construction management and business administration. He has been on the team since 2021 when the team was coming back together after the COVID pandemic.

“I’ve been playing rugby for two or three years now,” Lee said. “I just got started when I came to college. Some guys asked me if I wanted to play, and I felt like I could succeed in it. So far, it’s been really fun, I love it. Especially with the guys and bonding with them and developing my game to become better.”

When Lee first joined the team, there were eight players. Weber’s rugby team wasn’t in a conference, so they didn’t play any games competitively.

With the growth of players in the club, they were able to join a conference in the spring of 2023 and even make it to nationals. Although they had more players than in past years, at that time, they were still a little short, having 10 players when they needed 15, so they couldn’t play at nationals.

“We are the director of operations — we’re in charge of all the DNC work, the registration and just making sure people are filling out the right paperwork, and registration with the conference is good as well,” Lee said. “It has been difficult learning how to manage having more guys, especially being filled with a bunch of new guys.”

There are challenges that arise when teams begin to expand. Since the Rugby Club has been getting bigger, the presidency has learned about building foundations and building for the future. Most importantly, the presidency focuses on the bond of the team.

“I’ve been a part of other rugby teams since I started playing at Weber State, and it’s something different here because it’s a family feel,” Lee said. “Everyone knows each other, everyone’s with each other, we’re able to speak our own mind and thoughts with each other and be receptive to that feedback. We care for each other because we are family.”

The Rugby team has two seasons, fall and spring. This fall season, the team is 6–2–1. Overall, they have scored 40 tries, 30/40 conversion kicks, 50 steals and over 200 tackles. They are looking to make it to nationals again, which will take place in the spring.

On Nov. 4, Weber traveled up to Pocatello, Idaho, to face Idaho State University. They played four games, and Weber State won all of them. Weber played three matches of 7’s, which has seven players on each side and one match of 10’s, which is played with 10 players on each side. The 7’s had final scores of 38–7, 11–0 and 40–5, and the 10’s match had a final score of 38–5.

Dalan Long, vice president for the Rugby Club, plays forward/lock on the field and is a sophomore studying exercise and sports science along with criminal justice.

“I’ve been playing rugby for about three years, played for a year in high school, and then I went on my mission, and then I found the rugby team here last year,” Long said. “Last season, there weren’t many returning players, and JJ wanted to make me vice president, and I agreed to help him in any way I could. So, this season has been a lot of building and finding people who will commit.”

At Weber, sacrifice and commitment are values of men’s rugby. When it comes to clubs, there needs to be a dedication to the sport because, unlike the athletic program, clubs do not have scholarships for the players. It requires the athlete to have a sincere desire to do something they love.

“I sacrifice so much to play this sport, and I love rugby at Weber State and I sacrifice a lot of my time and effort for it,” Long said. “And I hope that the Weber State community can come to love the sport as much as the players love it. I feel with any rugby team, we provide a different feeling to the community on campus. We try to show as much love and support to other people as much as possible. We get involved with other teams and communities and support others. We want to engrave ourselves in the foundation of Weber State.”

The Rugby Club has been involved with a variety of service projects on campus and around the community. Recently, the team helped clean up a corn maze in Morgan. Through different service projects, the team has developed in many ways: problem-solving, teamwork, adaptability and character development are characteristics in which the players have improved, and this has been apparent on and off the field.

The team’s last game of the fall season is on Nov. 17 against the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in Henderson, Nevada. The game starts at 11 a.m.

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Jacoba Jones
Jacoba Jones, Sports reporter

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