Women’s Rugby: An inside look


By Robert Myers Sports Editor

Aside from 19 varsity sports, SDSU also boasts several club sports, one of them being women’s rugby. The team took second place in the National Small College Rugby Organization Women’s 7’s National Championship in May.

The tournament was held at Grand Valley University in Allendale, Mich.  and consisted of two three-team pools. Teams were selected for the tournament based on how they performed against regional competition.

In the tournament, the SDSU team cruised into the finals, outscoring their opponents with an overall score of 74-0, before they finally met their match in the championship game, losing 22-7 to Wayne State University.

The club is headed up by president Cady Olson who is serving her first year in the office, though she has been a part of SDSU rugby since being recruited by a friend on campus.

“The old team captain [recruited me],” Olson said. “She gone to high school with me and asked me to play. I was like ‘ok, I guess so.’ Most of the students coming in, nobody knows anything about rugby. Every now and then we get a couple girls [who know the sport], but otherwise it’s not well known and you start from scratch with all the players that come in.”

Olson said that the common explanation of rugby as a cross between football and soccer is accurate. 

“It’s definitely a sport of its own that you have to watch, but one thing to know about it is that it kind of has the continuity of soccer,” Olson said. There’s no stoppage like football. … We can only pass backwards and the only way the ball can move forward is through kicks. … We also tackle like football, but unlike football we wear no padding whatsoever.”

Because rugby is a club sport rather than a varsity sport, Olson and her team face several challenges that are unfamiliar to the athletes of SDSU’s varsity sports, one of them being the paperwork she has to do. 

“We pay dues to USA Rugby and you have to get your team certified every year so there’s that. You have to get certified and pay dues to the union every year,” Olson said. “That’s just for the club, and then each member of the team has to get certified. … It’s a lot of getting players to sign paperwork for the school, like liability forms for the school every year, and we have to go to sports clubs meetings.”

Olson added that the help she receives from Vice President Breanne Hojer is invaluable to helping keep the club up and running.

Club sports also receive only limited funding from the university and must come up with the rest of their budget on their own through dues and fundraising.

“We try to do concession stands us much as we can and cleanups at Frost [Arena],” Olson said. “That’s been our new fundraising thing both the men’s and women’s [rugby] teams have started doing. It’s pretty easy money for a few hours of work. We make a little money off of club dues, but we try to keep them pretty cheap because we understand that college students are broke as it is.”

One goal this year is to raise enough money to buy new uniforms. Olson said that neither she nor fellow teammates she has talked to can remember the last time they bought new uniforms.

Because of SDSU’s enrollment size, the team is actually being bumped up to the Division II level which will mean new opponents and challenges.

 “For this year we lost quite a few valuable players,” Olson said. “We lost six girls and three of them were very valuable. … I really want to work on building the team and getting a lot of retention to compete at the Division II level and show these Division II teams that even though we were at the NSCRO we are just as competitive as them.”

Women’s rugby spent the last couple years ranked in the NSCRO and Olson said they hope to find the same success at their new level. Beyond that, Olson said the dream is to become a varsity sport and said she sees a movement towards the varsity level for many rugby teams across the country.

For those interested in joining the club, there will be an information meeting Thursday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. in TheUnion Crest room 253 C. The group is also working a table in The Union this week and has a Facebook page called “SDSU Women’s Rugby Club.”