Rugby opens season 3-0

The SDSU Women’s Rugby Club advanced to 3-0 with a 68-5 victory over Southwest Minnesota State University on Saturday.

After defeating Northern State and USD in an SDSU-hosted round robin tournament on Sept. 13, the Jacks picked up an extra home game when the SMSU game was moved to SDSU.

“It went pretty well,” said club Vice President Breanne Hojer about the game. “We had a lot of sick girls and some injuries so we weren’t playing with our usual people. Overall I thought we played pretty well.”

SMSU came into the game shorthanded more shorthanded than the Jacks, having only 11 players. To even things up, the Jacks loaned them three players, allowing the teams to play with 14 players each, one short of the standard 15.

Because of the injuries, sickness and loaning of players SDSU did very little in the way subbing players during the game, meaning almost everyone had to play a whole game. Not being a varsity sport, the process of conditioning to play a whole game rests solely in the hands of individual players.

“Conditioning is all on the individual,” Hojer said. “We only practice twice a week. That’s not enough time to do conditioning because we have to practice game skills since most of the girls never played before. So we require that the girls go to the Wellness Center twice a week and run or lift, just to get themselves in shape, and our four hours at practice are all spent on game skills.”

SDSU scored early and often for most of the game. They scored 12 times, each score being worth five points  and tacked on four successful two-point conversions. Nevertheless,Hojer said they wanted to focus on other things than fast breaks.  

“We wanted to slow down and focus on playing better rugby,” Hojer said. “Sure scoring a lot is fun but we aren’t really gaining any skills off that because it was all fast breaks. So we wanted to slow it down and set up good technique and try to focus on getting better skills for when we play more advanced teams.”

Much of that focus was devoted to team play and organization rather than individual play.

“What we wanted to do was set up pods for our forwards, little diamond groups that run together – they’re a lot stronger together,” Hojer said. “We also wanted to set up a back line which is four girls who are usually smaller and quicker and the goal of that is they can keep passing it down and keep running forward. That’s what we want to score off of is the back line because they are our faster girls.”

On Sunday, Sept. 28 the Jacks will host Augustana College at the SDSU Intramural Field.

“Right now we’re just learning, because over half our team is brand new,” Hojer said “Luckily we haven’t had the strongest competition for the first two weekends, so it’s a good chance for the rookies to learn and get their skills up.”

Despite being a couple weeks into the season, Hojer said that there is always room and opportunity for more women to join the team.

“We will always take more people,” Hojer said. “They can come check us out any time. You don’t need any knowledge or skills to play. We also have a spring season, so maybe fall doesn’t work out so well, but they can definitely join in the spring.”