Freshman Megan Browning began her Biola career by taking on the challenge of starting a new club on campus — women’s rugby.
“I’ve always thought rugby was awesome,” Browning said. “I’ve never had a team around me when I was younger and I knew that Biola had a team, but not a girls team, so I decided to start one.”
The women practice alongside the men early on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Just like the men’s squad, the members teach each other technique and push each other to improve with every practice.
“The guys are honestly super helpful. There are a lot of new players that came out this year so they are very understanding,” Browning said. “The guys teach you how to be tougher so when I go against girls, I’ll be even better.”
Ideally, a solid number of players for women’s rugby would include 20 to 25 girls, leaving the bench ten subs deep. As the years progress, Browning hopes that knowledge of the women’s team would grow and bring more interested players.
“The getting the girls to join part is kind of rough. I feel like girls are kind of scared of rugby, but they shouldn’t be because it’s super fun,” Browning said. “I think people could be interested, they just don’t know about it yet. Hopefully once word spreads around we’ll get a bigger turn out.”
Women’s rugby slowly makes its way towards popularity throughout Southern California universities, with currently 24 collegiate women’s rugby programs throughout the state. The equal importance of each position on the team contributes to the increased of interest in the sport.
“I like the team dynamic, in rugby it’s about the team,” Browning said. “You’re continually passing and if you have one player that tries to be the star, you’re going to suck. You have to pass it back and forth and across the field and you have to work as a team unit. I think that’s really good. It teaches communication and teamwork.”
Browning, new to rugby herself, played numerous sports throughout high school and has only gotten to fulfill her interest in rugby her first year of college. She wants students who are interested in the sport to know that, despite the heavily involved physical contact, women can still excel.
“One of the stigmas [in women’s rugby] is that people think that because we are women we will probably get hurt a lot playing the sport,” Browning said. “But it’s just as equal of a chance as the guys. I think that any girl can be tough, they just can’t be afraid.”
Browning believes that people from all different athletic backgrounds can fall in love with the sport as long as they put in the time and effort.
“It’s worth it once you get a passion for the game. I already have it and I’ve only been playing for a few months,” Browning said.