Rugby rookies show promise


The Florida Gulf Coast University Women’s Rubgy Club will be back  in action at 2 p.m.  Saturday, Oct. 4 on rec field 1 against the University of Miami’s Hurricanes.
The Eagles faced off against the University of South Florida this past weekend in their first match of the season.
The game was called due to inclement weather, but the west coast foes managed to finish the first half of the game with the Bulls leading 40-5.
While the Eagles’ defense was a bit shaky, they didn’t give up as many trys as originally expected for being a team with so few players and many rookies.
“I didn’t even think we’d get that far,” junior fly-half Alina Charles said. “The fact that we were able to play as a team, we rucked properly, we supported each other, we communicated correctly, and we made our tackles with these big girls that like that just made everything better.”
The Eagles scrummed and stiff-armed their way up the field to score their try. Junior Brittany Smith scored the Eagles’ only try of the game. Smith’s try was her first of her career.
“We have a lot of rookies this year,” Smith said. “They’re getting to really learn [the game] and it’s going to be a good year.”
Both players and coaches stressed the need for more players on the team in order to be successful.
“We don’t get to do key player-on-player stuff,” coach Steve Braunstein said. “So we have to improvise.”
“There’s a lot of different pieces that you have to put together,” Braunstein continued, “it’s like building a building of Legos. You have a lot of different Legos but until you go to put them all together, and in the proper order, you don’t have a good structure.
Braunstein said that the biggest contributing issues are that hardly anyone knows what rugby is or has even heard of it.
The women’s team currently has 18 active players, a far cry from the 40 women that are needed in order to have a full team. School and work commitments keep many players from being able to attend matches and practices.
“The girls gave great effort, when you have as many rookies as we do,” Braunstein said. “That’s all we can ask for cause this games a lot about effort and then actually seeing them doing the techniques that we practiced in a better fashion than we expected because it was the first game. We actually really put up a good battle today.”