March 2, 2024

Club Week: Rugby more like family than football

In the final feature of TNJN’s Club Week, sports editor Cody McClure profiles UT’s Women’s Rugby Club. The team is like a close-knit family both on and off the field.

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This sport is a team game played with an oval ball that may be kicked, carried and passed from hand to hand. Sound familiar? No, it’s not football. It’s women’s rugby. And it is quite popular on campuses around the country.

At UT, the Women’s Rugby Club was formed in 1980. According to its website, the rugby team’s mission is “to compete, promote and encourage the sport of rugby while proudly representing the University of Tennessee.”

The club requires no prior rugby experience to join. In fact, many of its members are rookies to begin with and have to learn the basics. This year’s team is currently in the off-season and is looking forward to adding new members.

“We are a slightly smaller team this year and are actively looking to recruit people interested in trying something new and being a part of a great team,” said team president Victoria Nelson. “We are playing six games this season in order to prepare for our competitive matrix season next semester.”

Nelson is a junior at UT, majoring in supply chain management and political science. She knows firsthand about the impact rugby can have on a person. She referred to the team as a family.

“I started playing rugby last year as a way to stay in shape, make great friends and experience a new sport at a competitive level,” said Nelson. “It hasn’t always been a part of my life, but I think it will stay a part of my life now that I have experienced the sport.”

The only pieces of equipment required to play are a mouth guard and cleats. But the most important thing a player can possess is a willingness to make friends and have fun. Nelson and others on the team emphasize “family” as a big part of rugby.

The team’s next confirmed game is against Emory on Nov. 21.

Featured image from http://www.utwrfc.org/

Edited by Jessica Carr

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Sports Editor, Cody McClure, has been with TNJN since January 2014. He is passionate about SEC football and basketball. To him, there's nothing better in life than game day in Neyland Stadium. Cody covers the SEC for Athlon Sports. Additionally, he co-hosts Rock Solid Sports for WUTK 90.3 FM on Fridays from 7-8 p.m. ET. Cody is also interning at Sports Radio WNML working under Jimmy Hyams. In his spare time, he plays golf, travels the country, and plays guitar, badly. Follow him on Twitter @CodyMcClureCFB.