Weber offers a unique club sport

The WSU rugby team competes in a game last season. The Wildcats' next game is on March 21.  (Source: WSU Rugby Club)
The WSU rugby team competes in a game last season. The Wildcats’ next game is on March 21.
(Source: WSU Rugby Club)

Weber State University offers a unique sporting team that many colleges in the United States do not have.

The sport of rugby has been around for hundreds of years and is considered to be one of the top 10 most popular sports internationally. Although it is well liked worldwide, it is somewhat unknown in the United States, making it a unique club to have on Weber’s campus.

The men’s rugby team at WSU has existed for many years. This year’s team is made up of many beginning players as well as veterans to the sport from many areas around the country.

“Rugby is a sport for every shape and every size,” said head coach Richard Johnson. “Seventy-five percent of the kids who play rugby have never played before.”

Much like American football, the object of the game is to move the ball down the field and cross the goal line into the end zone, or try zone as its known in rugby. Unlike American football though, the players do not wear pads and when passing the ball they can only pass it backwards and sideways, but never forward.

Scoring for rugby has some similarities to football as well as some differences. A try is the equivalent of a touchdown but it is worth five points instead of six. After a try is scored, rugby also has an extra point kick called a conversion. If the kick is successful it is worth one point. Rugby also has a penalty kick, which is similar to a field goal and is worth three points.

The team travels all over the west playing different teams. Some of the teams include Salt Lake Community College, Idaho State and Southern Utah University

“The furthest we ever traveled to play was Washington against Washington State for the first round of the national tournament last year,” said kicker Dalton Gullo.

This year’s season is just beginning and the team members are excited to see how this year’s club performs. The team took third place overall last year at the national championship they entered, and they are projected to take first this year in the same competition.

“The team is looking really good this year.” said team member Kyle Gallas. “We have a lot of talent and a lot of experience.”

One month ago the team played in the Red Rock tournament in Mesquite, Nevada. They won the tournament by beating Idaho State 64-24 and Southern Utah University 48-24. The team was pleased with their performance and is hopeful for a victorious season.

Johnson said that the team is always looking for new members. The club has practices Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the upper deck of the Marquadt Field House.

The team’s next home game is March 21 against Utah State University on the lower quad below the Social Science building.