Today: Jun 16, 2024

Men’s rugby: 3-time division champs are purely student-run

Robin Glynn – General Assignment Reporter

The men’s rugby team has had their ups and downs over the years, but their friendship has stayed intact.

“We are the only Division I program at Southern,” said Jeff Silva, captain of men’s rugby. “We play some of the bigger schools in the nation, like Boston College, Northeastern, UConn, all Division I athletes. In the past four years that I have been here we have worked our way from Division III to Division I.”

Mike Kennedy, president of men’s rugby, said that the history of the rugby team goes back many years. The team started in the 80’s and they have worked their way up from being a lower division team to playing in division one and playing well-known Division I colleges.

“There was a brief hiatus, there was no men’s rugby at Southern for a few years,” said Kennedy. “In 2008, that’s when we started winning in Division III, we moved to Division I. This past year was our first years in Division I.”

Silva said that the team is a little more competitive than the women’s team, but both teams agree that it is a tough sport.

“There was a struggle with learning complex rugby schemes,” said John Murullo, captain of men’s rugby. “It is difficult to more on to the next level.”

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The Men’s Rugby Club is the only Division I team at Southern Connecticut State University.

In the fall of 2008 the Southern Rugby team won the NERFU (New England Rugby Football Union) Division III South division championship while finishing the regular season undefeated.

According to the men’s rugby website, some of their important victories were won facing teams such as Army, Yale, Harvard and Dartmouth who were all national title contenders in the 80’s. During that time, the team was never able to be recognized because they were not a funded club at SCSU and also were not part of a union.

Around the same time that the team won the division three championship, many of the younger members started catching on to rugby, and the men were becoming a very good team.

Being a Division I team, something people might not know is that the men’s rugby team is entirely student run.

“We have no help from the school. It is really  put on to us,” said Silva.

The team has fundraisers and they enjoy playing former members.

“We do fundraisers, alumni dinners,” said Kennedy. “We have an alumni game once a year. It’s a good time and we raiser money for the team.”

The team also gives back to the community

“We do the Big Event and the Day of Service,” said Kennedy. “We try to give back tot the community as much as we can.” And just like women’s rugby, what the men like about playing is the camaraderie.

“A lot of us have been playing since high school together,” said Silva. “A lot of us are from the same high school. It definitely helps in that sense that we have been playing together for a while.”

Murullo said he likes the friendships that the team has created.

“I like the camaraderie and friendship on and off the field,” said Murullo.

But for the players, it is more than just playing rugby.

“I would want people to know that it is more than a sport,” said Murullo. “We take the sport seriously and enjoy taking the field.”

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