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Aggressive by nature, rugby by sport

Photo provided by Oral Roberts University

Think: football and soccer in a blender with a spritz of lacrosse or soccer for cavemen. That’s rugby. Since the implementation of the ORU Rugby team last fall, the aggressive sport has become popular on campus.

The team’s first season was impressive, considering they had never played together before and it was the first year an ORU Rugby team formed. The squad showed great potential last season not only by defeating teams who were in the conference but also by playing big-name teams, like OU, into extra time.

The conference includes member schools John Brown University, Wayne State University, Washburn University and Pitt State University. Rugby is a sport with both a fall and a spring season, and the spring season features playoffs to determine a champion.

In the fall season so far, the men have defeated Pitt State University, John Brown University and Washburn University, with their only loss coming against the Tulsa Rugby Club. On Oct. 27, the team will head to Pitt State for a tournament.

ORU sophomore and member of the Rugby team Jonathan Wrona said the team’s culture is rooted in valuing one another.

“We’re all about honoring others, whether that be with each other or making sure that we behave in such a way that we earn it from our peers,” Wrona said.

A successful team typically has great chemistry among teammates, which is often fully evidenced off the field. The rugby team is no different.

“We eat, workout and study together,” Wrona said. “We all have a very strong bond.”

The team features men from many different backgrounds, cultures and races, demonstrating the universality of sports. The theme of honor is especially obvious in the bond the team has forged in the short time they have been together.

Wrona described rugby as a “global brother/sisterhood.” He continued to emphasize how special the sport can be by saying “me and a guy from South Africa, with almost nothing in common, became friends off of just sharing our experiences in rugby.”

Rugby is not a sport for the faint of heart. The sport is played with no protective pads such as those required for football—all that is required is a mouthguard and a pair of cleats. The physicality of the game and the strength required to outlast the opponent is demanding.

Combining last year’s success with a strong start to this season, the team expects to continue to rise to each challenge they face throughout the remainder of their schedule.