They just keep on rolling.
The Denison Men’s Rugby Team improved to 2-0 on the season with an impressive 39-24 victory over the Yellow Jackets of Baldwin Wallace this past Saturday.
It’s the team’s first season competing in the Ohio Tier One Competitive Tear in the Great Lakes Collegiate Rugby Conference.
It’s certainly worth mentioning that the Big Red are firing on all cylinders in the young season and looking extremely dangerous despite having lost several key contributing players from last year’s squad.
Ron Tran ‘21 is among a talented class of returning players who have been asked to step into leadership roles this season. Tran ‘21 commented on the adjustment the team has made from last season and offered insight into his own personal role as forwards captain. “We’re a young team across the board with guys who’ve bought into the idea that we can make a run in this conference. One thing I really wanted to focus on this year as a young captain was doing the simple things perfect,” Tran ‘21 says.
In watching Tran ‘21 battle on the pitch, it is clear that he is settling into his new role as captain seamlessly. He’s a player who is not only able to lead by example, but also one who can be vocal with his teammates when he needs to.
Tran ‘21 spoke to the heightened level of competition and the effects of some of the personnel turnover from last year’s team. “We had players in the past that could carry the whole team through games, but that won’t work with these more competitive teams like Akron and Bowling Green. Being a young team gives us the opportunity to work on our fundamentals and build a foundation for a great program in the future,” the captain remarks.
Saturday’s victory took a complete effort from the entire roster to hold off the Yellow Jackets. The team scored a total of seven tries and added two conversions. Perhaps most notably, six out of the seven tries came from either freshmen or sophomores.
Jack Lauer ‘21 led the team in scoring with three tries, all of which were set up with precise ball movement and from the whole team.
Forwards captain, Ron Tran ‘21 was barking out instructions all day and keeping the forwards unit cohesive and got in on the scoring action himself.
Additional Big Red players to score included Liam Mahon ‘22, Andy Rubarth ‘20 and Henry Burnett ‘22, who also added two extra point conversions.
But like any great team sport, there is so much more that goes into winning than offense in rugby. Marc Haddad ‘20 is backs captain for this year’s squad and speaks to the the work and effort that goes into every game. “We put in work every week with two three-hour practices. In the off-season we developed lifting routines to do as a team. We’re always looking to get better and put in that work,” Haddad ‘20 says.
Lastly, Haddad ‘20 speaks to the team’s tight-knit culture, saying “We are close group that love being around each other. If you’ve ever played rugby or even a team sport you know that your teammates are like your brothers and you’re willing to put in the extra work for them.”
The team is incredibly exciting to watch and will look to build off of a strong start to the season this Saturday, September 22.