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Strength in numbers: WSU men’s club rugby relies on brotherhood

PAYTON DINEEN | Evergreen reporter

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Rugby is a sport that has its roots in the Roman Coliseum and relies almost exclusively on the gladiator-like strength of each member of the team. WSU’s men’s club rugby team is no different.

 “Let’s just play until we get sick of it!” one player yells as the first rugby practice of the year comes to an end.

 It is very clear how much enjoyment those who play for WSU’s club rugby team have. By their own accord the men value teamwork, perseverance, performance under pressure and leadership. Those same values have been rooted in the sport since its inception on the fields at Rugby School in England.

 According to the New York Times, over 180 collegiate rugby clubs have been started as the sport gains popularity. Washington State’s rugby team, however, has been around since 1973 and is still growing.

 A club sport, WSU Rugby is serious about what they do.

 The team faces tough competition. It competes in the Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference (NCRC) against other Division 1 schools in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

 With a third place finish in NCRC last year, the result of a frustrating loss in the final seconds of the game, their sights are set on the first place title this year.

 The team has only lost four players, with the rest either being returning teammates or new team members. The combinations of these players have made for immediate team chemistry, something that excites team captain senior Joey Malloy.

 With excited freshmen and seasoned players, Cougar men’s rugby has talent and a lot of potential for the upcoming season.

 Among the new team members is freshman Elijah Cohens, who came to WSU from Vancouver, Washington with only a single year of rugby experience under his belt.

 In the past, the team struggled with, in the words of Malloy, “People getting ahead of themselves.” That is something the team hopes not to face this year.

 This will be Malloy’s second year playing for WSU Rugby and his eighth year playing the sport.

 After deciding that he would be attending college at Washington State University, Cohens wanted to continue playing the sport that he had recently taken up. After a coach reached out to him, he decided to continue his rugby career at WSU.

 Playing a college sport with little experience can be intimidating, but Cohens is looking forward to developing as a player and improving his skills this season with the Cougars.

 “We have a lot of potential,” Cohens said. “There’s a lot of talent.”

 The brotherhood is obvious; something Cohens took from the first practice. Being surrounded by laid-back and encouraging people makes it that much easier to jump into a college sport with both feet.

 Sevens are coming up, and they are highly anticipated. Sevens are a type of rugby in which both teams have seven players on the field.

 The team hopes to make its mark once again this year in the NCRC, and they have the skills and ambition to do so.

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Strength in numbers: WSU men’s club rugby relies on brotherhood