Women’s rugby begins with loss to WSU

Womens rugby begins with loss to WSU

It was an overcast and windy day in Cheney as the EWU women’s rugby club team had their first match of the year, which ended in defeat against its in-state rival Washington State on Oct. 13.

From the start of the match, things seemed to go the WSU Cougars’ way. They were winning possession of the ball and once the WSU backs got to the outside, it was a race to the try zone.

Rachel Weiss, who is in her junior year at EWU, is majoring in athletic training. She first started playing rugby last year in the fall. She played for the whole year but decided instead of playing this year she just wanted to coach.

“I’m really excited about this upcoming year,” said Weiss, “Our group of girls are really awesome, so positive and are all really fast learners. We love that we can get people involved.”

Overall this year’s squad fields about 30 girls, with 10 returning players and about 20 newcomers.

“The rugby team is in a rebuilding stage this year after losing a couple of our good players from last year’s squad to graduation,” said Weiss. “This year’s team is young and there are a bunch of new talented girls on the team with a lot of potential.”

“My goal for the team this year is to make a fun environment for people to come and play,” said Weiss. “I would love to see wins come out of that, but if wins don’t come out, that’s OK. I would rather have the people who are on rugby or who are joining rugby to have a good experience. I want everyone on the team to feel like they’re a part of something.”

Weiss did not play rugby in high school, but that did not stop her from coming out last year and trying out for the team. With coaching, Weiss is trying something new.

“That’s the nice thing about rugby and the unique aspect of this club is most of the people who come and play for the club, have never played [rugby] before,” said Weiss. “It’s a sport where anyone can learn it. That’s the cool thing about rugby is we can pull in so many different people, every quarter we get new girls
to come out.”

Kimberly Nesper, a senior at EWU who is majoring in human resource management, is another person who has never played rugby before but that did not push her away from the sport.

When asked what was one of her favorite things about rugby, Nesper replied, “I love the camaraderie, I’ve made so many awesome friends just from joining the team.”

In 1982, the women’s rugby club team was one of the first organized women’s athletic clubs on campus, according to the EWU Women’s Rugby website. The club was refounded in 2008 after having a falling out in the late 1980s.

A lot of the credit for the funding and continuation of the rugby club goes to the rugby executive board, which includes President Christina McDonald, Vice President Jessica Knowles, Secretary Ashley King, Treasurer Amanda Oakes, Recruitment Chair Haley Dusenberry and Fundraising Chair Jess Adams. “These ladies play a huge roll in why the rugby team is able to exist,” said Weiss.

“Rugby is a sport where the technicality of it is really low, so learning it is not that hard. Learning the aspect of [rugby], but executing what you’ve learned is the hard part because [rugby] is very situational,” said Weiss. “So you can teach someone really fast [about rugby], but the only way you’re really going to learn technically how to change things or do things differently is from games.”

“The rugby team this year has a lot of youth as well as many talented girls who are not only building team chemistry but are also building on good friendships,” said Weiss.