Men's rugby club suffers disappointing loss, team seeks improvement
Oregon State rugby club, now Division I-A, lost on Saturday to Central Washington, 39-13
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 01:01
The Oregon State men’s rugby club learned they can’t just show up and win.
Although the team went undefeated last year and won the Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference, a tough match against Central Washington University on Saturday in below-freezing temperatures on Saturday resulted in a 39-13 loss for the Beavers.
“The scoreboard doesn’t really tell how we performed,” said senior Rob Kennedy. “I think we performed well, but we didn’t perform to our maximum potential.”
The team recently moved up from Division I-AA to Division I-A, and with that comes new, and better, competition.
“The competition isn’t nearly as hard as it is in [Division] I-A,” said sophomore Clancy Smith. “I’m disappointed we lost, but I’m happy with our performance and that we didn’t just get blown out of the water.”
CWU is arguably one of the best collegiate programs in the Northwest, which is what Oregon State is striving for.
“We want to continue developing the club in terms of how we perform on the field and having a good relationship with the alumni,” said head coach Anthony Lally. “We ultimately want to lift the standard of play in the region.”
The alumni play a big part of the OSU men’s rugby team; the team has never had a coach who wasn’t an alumnus in the program’s 50-year history.
Lally carries on that tradition, having played in 2002. Lally is in his second year as head coach for OSU. Before coming back to Corvallis, Lally coached at UC Santa Barbara and Northern Sydney in Australia.
A popular comparison Lally makes is when he compares rugby to chess.
“Coach says it’s like ‘chess on steroids,’” says senior club president Steven Fenaroli. “It’s a lot about thinking. It’s continuous. Lots of things can go wrong and you have to figure out how to adapt to make it work. It’s all about seeing the next thing coming.”
For those who are unfamiliar with rugby, there are 15 players from each team on the field and those 15 players play both offense and defense.
“Everyone gets to touch the ball, everyone gets to tackle,” Smith said. “It’s the ultimate team game.”
Experience and size aren’t needed either. It’s the intangibles that lead to a quality rugby player.
“A guy with a lot of determination and a lot of drive that wants something is what makes a great rugby player,” Fenaroli said. “It’s all about what you put in and how bad you want it.”
Fenaroli is the smallest player on the OSU team, coming in at 5-foot-4 and weighing about 115 pounds.
“The good news about this game is that all our mistakes are things we can fix,” Smith said, mentioning terms like dropped balls, scrumming and line-outs.
Improvement is what the team is seeking after a loss like Saturday’s.
“We’re almost there,” Kennedy said. “We just need to focus more in practices, and keep our game the way we play it and not the way they play it.”
The Beavers will take on Washington State next Sunday at noon on the Intramural Fields and will travel to Vancouver, B.C., after that to battle the University of British Columbia on Feb. 2.
Alex McCoy, sports reporter