After a strong rebuilding season this past fall for the Bryant Women’s Rugby Club, they are ready to take on a fun, off-season spring semester schedule. Although the scrimmages and tournaments in the nearing months do not officially count towards their conference, they are important for recruiting new players, creating team unity, and most importantly having a good time.
After what seems to be endless amounts of snow, it is clear why it is difficult for this group of girls to come together and practice as frequently as they would like. They make do with what they can and practice every Tuesday morning in the MAC gymnasium from 7:30 to 9:00am.
Being a contact sport, the hardwood floors of the gym limit what they can do in terms of practicing certain skills. This in turn makes their practices less physical overall, and more focused on the technique and finesse of passing, running plays, and of course, fitness. Along with these early morning practices, they take advantage of the group exercise classes, kickboxing and spinning being two of their favorites.
Once the snow melts and temperatures become bearable, the rugby girls will again venture outside and practice every day. This is necessary in order to be ready for their first match, which is here at Bryant on Saturday, March 21st. This will be a scrimmage against Roger Williams University, an out of conference team which has proven to be a challenge to Bryant in previous years. Having been indoors without practicing physical contact in months, it is vital that the week prior to this game is focused on getting into rugby condition.
Weather permitting, the following Saturday (March 28th) will be the first time the Women’s Rugby Club travels to New York University to play against what they expect to be another challenging opponent. This is an expected learning experience and team bonding activity, because they will be staying for an extra day in the city together following the game. Opportunities like this are what define their spring semesters.
In order for Bryant Rugby to remain a part of the Rugby Northeast Conference in the fall, they must participate in an annual Spring 7’s rugby tournament at Stonehill College, this year on April 11th. This is the only time throughout the spring where Bryant has contact with other teams in their conference; however it is in a fun and less competitive environment than what is seen in the fall season. A modern and faster-paced form of the traditional 15’s rugby, 7’s rugby is also emphasizes strong skills and finesse. Downsizing the game from 15 players per team to just 7, there is a whole different set of plays and strategies the women’s rugby team must master, which is another different and exciting aspect of their spring schedule.
The rugby girls finish their season off every year with the world’s largest collegiate rugby tournament.This year it’s on April 18th and 29th: Called The Beast of the East, it is located in Portsmouth, R.I. At this event, there are over 60 schools represented, some which come with multiple teams, which make up three divisions each for both men and women. This is one of the most cherished traditions of the women’s rugby club, and never fails to end their season on a high note.
Although the spring rugby season does not affect standings or competition, it has proven to be just as important to the Bryant Women’s Rugby Club. Leaving behind the stress of winning or losing in the fall, they can focus on why they play rugby in the first place: to be a part of a bonded team, and most importantly, to have some fun.