The Boise State men’s club rugby team missed out on their 2021 season last spring due to Covid. Now, the players are eager to get back on the field. After an unexpected loss during the 2020 national playoffs, the team wants redemption.
This season will be different due to the loss of the 2020 season. For one, the team is expected to be much younger.
Kyle Curry, senior scrum half and integrated media and strategic communication major said that before the pandemic, the team had a lot of players over the age of 21 and five players over the age of 25. Currently, the team’s oldest player is 21.
Although the team lacks senior leadership, Curry and Ryan Vuega, junior wing and marketing major, both agree this year’s team has a lot more skill.
“We have serious bodies and should be able to pound the ball in the midfield,” Vuega said. “We have a ton of athletes in our freshman class.”
According to head coach Matt Dutton, Boise State Rugby is a blue-collar team, and the most important aspect for the players are their grades. The players on the rugby team are different from those of NCAA programs because club sports have to pay to play, and the program is essentially run by students.
Curry and Vuega said that rugby has been a positive influence in other areas of their lives, including work and school. Rugby has also given them a positive work ethic.
“My understanding is that all of my best friends are on the rugby team,” Curry said. “It has been really tight this year. It’s exceptional. I’ve seen guys that are first-year players and have never touched the rugby ball before, and I’ve seen the guys that have been around [for] a long time really take them under their wing.”
The first home game of the season will be held outside the Student Union Building (SUB) at the intramural field on Oct. 2 for parents’ weekend.
After their first home game, the rest of the games will take place at the Lincoln Turf Field. Games are free to the public and fans can expect a fairly physical game.
According to Dutton, recruitment has gotten better, so there is an increase in talent. The current freshmen on the team have been playing rugby for about three to five years. Prior to this year, most of the players on the team were playing rugby at a collegiate level for the first time.
“I’ve never been more pumped for a rugby season in my entire life,” Curry said. “We have a bunch of great talent ranging from California, New Mexico, Idaho and Alaska. If [there] was a team to bring a national championship to Boise, this would be the year.”
The men’s rugby team is eager to have a season and be able to play in front of their fans.
The team ended the 2020 spring season as the undefeated league champions, but had a heartbreaking loss in the first round of the national playoffs, finishing 14th in the country.
“The Oregon State game(10/16) will be an important matchup to see who goes to the playoffs,” said Dutton. “The school that will give us the best we got is at home and away with Oregon State University, and it will most likely determine who takes the league and who goes to the national playoffs.”
The rugby team is unique in that the teams encourage a social and sportsmanship-centered culture. Usually, when an opposing team comes to town and spends the night, the home team will host a dinner for the other team. The team playing at home will choose a man of the night award.