Something new is happening at the South Side Park of Hanna, the University of Indianapolis’ rugby club has begun meeting there for practice. The rugby club was started at UIndy during the spring semester of 2015 by junior marketing major Willie Bryan and junior psychology major CJay Sanders.
“Rugby was started last year when Willie and I kind of had a sit-down, and we were talking about things we wanted to do,” Sanders said. “We talked about it when we both stopped playing football here at UIndy, and we decided we wanted to play rugby. We talked about how we [had] played in high school. So we got our interests together and came up with the idea to make a rugby team.”
Rugby is a full contact sport where players often wear little to no protective gear. Players must rely on their strength, strategy and speed to move into their opponent’s territory and score points.
“The contact would have to be my favorite thing about rugby,” Sanders said. “I used to miss playing football, but then when rugby started, I liked it a lot more. After I stopped playing football, I missed that physical contact of it, and rugby gives that to me, and it is just more fun.”
At UIndy, rugby is not currently a varsity sport. It is a club, but junior psychology major Evan Davies said that he would like for it to be varsity sometime soon.
“Rugby is a club, and the goal is to make it varsity here. But because of lacrosse coming in this year, they didn’t want to make rugby varsity. But that’s the goal, to make it varsity next year and recruit people and [have] scholarships and everything,” Davies said. “The team right now is very small. Recruitment has been a big issue because people don’t know about rugby. We’ve got probably 10 people coming right now, but there are 15 players on the team at one time. So for right now, we’ve had to borrow people for games, and we still want subs, so we’re really down by 15 people.”
Bryan believes that rugby is one of the most creative, free-flowing sports.
“You can run it, you can pass it, and you can kick it. Even though everyone plays with the same rules and the same amount of people, you look at a team and they can play a game completely different,” Bryan said. “There are so many different ways to play the game, but everyone starts out with the same primus of ‘you need to take the ball and get it across the field and touch it down on the piece of grass.’”
Bryan said both men and women are welcome to join the rugby team. The team wants to build a rugby tradition and culture and is open to ex-athletes and even people who have never played sports. Bryan said the team is good for people who are looking for something to do.
“We only practice three days a week, so it’s not something that is that much of a time commitment. We would love to have you. Come join the family,” Bryan said. “That’s really what we’re trying to build. We’re getting to the point now where we all are eating together and hanging out. We have a big ‘group-chat.’ We just want to grow our own little family here.”
The rugby team practices every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 3-5 p.m. at the South Side Park of Hanna.