To the naked eye, rugby is a game of chaos and brawn without much tact. However, each play of the game cannot succeed without each member on the field cohesively working through the play for any progress to take place.
“Out of every sport I’ve watched or played, rugby is the one sport where you literally cannot win without a team,” said senior John Krückenberg. “You can be the best rugby player ever, but if you’re not playing with your team as one unit, you are going to lose every time no matter how good your players are.”
For an hour and a half every Tuesday and Thursday the men and women practice alongside each other on McNally field. The team goes through warm ups and drills and the more experienced players pull the beginners aside to help them with technique. The team functions just as any other sport on Biola’s campus with one exception, they are not recognized as a varsity sport.
The club is not allowed access to the training room and the athletic training staff for taping or help for injuries. The team also manages all the finances that go toward maintaining a certified rugby team. The team pays for league fees, referee fees, athletic trainers at the games, field prep and travel expenses. The team receives funds from Associated Students and pays out of pocket for the expenses that exceed their club funding.
“Thankfully AS helps us out a lot with club dues, but we have to keep everything else afloat,” said Krückenberg. “It is a great testament to how much people want to be here.”
One thing the team does not have to worry about is a home field, hosting all of their games at Rancho Elementary school.
“A couple of years ago we had trouble finding a field so we were really lucky finding a good place at the Rancho campus,” head coach Andy Draycott said. “Facilities [workers] there have been really good to us and helped us make that a great playing surface. It’s actually one of the better fields we play on during our season.”
FINDING CAMARADERIE IN COMPETITION
Rugby stands out apart from most American sports in different ways, the camaraderie between teams after the competition finishes makes the most noteworthy difference. The strong bond exists not just between Christian athletes, but within the entire sport.
“I’ve played a lot of sports but I’ve never played a sport where you’re just enemies to the core but as soon as the game ends, you’re best friends. That’s just rugby culture,” said senior Brock McNeff. “You can play a school you have a huge rivalry with, and when you are playing it’s rough, it is intense and there’s lots of hitting but as soon as the game ends, you’re best friends with everyone.”
The team provides a great opportunity for many of the players to get connected at Biola. Many of the athletes are new to the sport but keep coming back each year because of the bonds formed.
“It’s a good team sport and it’s a great fellowship, especially here at Biola,” said sophomore Justin Van De Loo. “It’s a very unique game and there's not really another sport like it, so when you play it kinda just gets in your blood and you never want to stop.”