This weekend, the Boston College Men’s Rugby Team is one of twenty teams set to travel to Philadelphia to participate in the Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC) after a four-year hiatus.
Founded in 1969, the team is approaching fifty years of age, and something that the team has always stressed is inclusion and growth of the game. Instead of making cuts, the club places those who come to tryouts on one of three teams; there is an A team, B team, and a developmental team.
While president Tom Edwards, CSOM ’16, says that success on the field is important, he also stresses that the team is focused on teaching new players, growing the game, and giving back to the community around it.
“We participate in a lot of community service off the field,” said Edwards, “we try to be men and women for others.” The team's desire to serve can be seen in its efforts at this past year’s Relay For Life, where the team raised $2,000 and had over 30 members participate in the event. It truly is “a well-driven and motivated team that wants to be successful on and off the field,” as Edwards stated.
On the field, the team's game has excelled this season. After a successful fall season playing 15s, and a hard fought spring run of sevens, the team was given the last invitation spot to join the CRC.
“We are relatively new to the game of sevens, but the players have adapted quickly to the sevens game, especially with wins against powerhouse sevens teams like Notre Dame, U. Maryland, and Dartmouth,” said coach Rob Conway. Hailing from Ireland, Conway has a strong background in Rugby and a vast knowledge of the game.
Come Saturday, the team will begin pool play, facing off against defending champion Cal Berkeley at 9am, Virginia Tech at 11am, and Notre Dame at 3:30pm. Although the team is facing off against the top dog in Cal, perhaps the game the team is looking forward to the most is the afternoon matchup against Notre Dame.
Obviously a huge rivalry for Boston College, the Holy War with Notre Dame is expected to carry over to club sports as well. Beating Notre Dame is one of the biggest goals for this tournament; this will be the second time that the two teams will meet this season. The previous meeting resulted in a BC victory, but that doesn’t mean the team is preparing any differently.
Just as Notre Dame is coming in with a chip on its shoulder, this BC team is going in with the confidence and knowledge that it can win fueling its fight. Not only is this the team's biggest game because of its opponent, but also because it will be nationally broadcasted on NBC.
Depending on the team's results Saturday, BC will play Sunday, taking either one of five group champion slots or one of three wild-card slots. If the team fails to advance, it will still play in consolation matches on Sunday.
The last time BC attended the CRC, the team placed last. But the team hopes that its absence over the last four years will work to its advantage. “It’s a completely new set of players, we are a wild card,” said Edwards, “They don’t know what to expect from us and they don’t know who our best players are.”
Poised to be a sport in the 2016 Olympics, rugby is making a name for itself. Join the movement and tune into NBC at 3:30 on Saturday to catch the Boston College Men’s Rugby Team face off against Notre Dame and support the growing sport.
Follow @BCGavelSports on Twitter for the latest updates on Boston College athletics.