Oct 062011
 
Authors: Christopher Boan

Every fall the CSU men’s rugby team must build from the ground up.

The team, which is mostly composed of former football players, continues its 2011 fall season today when they face CU-Boulder in Denver.

“The majority of the kids we get have never played the sport at all,” CSU coach Jake Humphrey said. “Most play football, which is still a huge challenge as we have to teach them the fundamentals of the game.”

The Rams compete in the 30-team College Premier Division, a non-scholarship league divided into three divisions of play. Teams play two seasons, a competitive schedule in the spring, with an eight-team tournament to decide the national champion.

The team also plays a schedule of exhibition games in the fall.
The growth of collegiate rugby in America has opened the door to international competition for players.

“I think it’s easier than most people think to play internationally,” redshirt junior Marques Vieira said. “After college there are two all-star teams to play on, so we have an opportunity to play rugby around the world.”

Rugby as a whole has grown in popularity in America, especially with the inclusion of 7-man teams to the 2016 Summer Olympics. Both players and coaches for the Rams contribute the growing popularity of the sport as a key factor in their decision to play.

“Rugby’s one of the big and up-and-coming sports in the United States right now,” junior Stephen Karas said. “The fact that it will be an Olympic sport in the future has definitely lead to a rise in popularity.”

Today the Rams, who were 1-7 last spring, will square off against the Buffs at Infinity Park in Glendale, for a game under the lights for the 2nd annual Colorado Cup. The Rams are not taking the Buffs lightly even after their 2-4 spring campaign.

“CU’s always a very solid team,” Humphrey said. “We’re excited to have the opportunity to play under the lights in Denver, and (we) expect a close game.”

The Rams will go into the game looking to showcase their younger players against a veteran-led CU lineup. The Buffs are looking to continue the offensive success they had against School of Mines, whom they beat 67-10 on Sept. 3.

“CU always has a big physical team,” Karas said. “They have lots of experience and know how to play the game.”

For the coaching staff at CSU, rugby goes beyond just being a sport.
“The game of rugby has given a lot to me,” Humphrey said. “Now I want to give back to the players. It’s my life.”

Club Sports Beat Reporter Christopher Boan can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

The Game

  • Who: CSU vs. CU-Boulder
  • What: Rugby
  • When: 7 p.m.
  • Where: Infinity Park, Glendale, Colo.
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