Despite youth and inexperience, men’s rugby continues winning tradition

The Denison Men’s Rugby Club (DUMRC) concluded their Fall 15’s season back during the first weekend of November. The team battled through early-season injuries and ultimately finished with a 3-4 overall record, highlighted by two home victories versus Ohio Northern and Baldwin Wallace. They will pick things up in March when they begin their Spring 7’s slate of games. Photo: Maxwell Marshall

MAXWELL MARSHALL, Staff Writer—After a long and tumultuous ride, Denison’s Men’s Rugby Club (DUMRC) wrapped up their Fall 15’s season on Saturday November 2 at Bowling Green, finishing with an overall record of 3-4.

This season, the men’s rugby team was met with a full slate of matches against many different colleges, first facing off against Case Western Reserve University on September 7. After a narrow loss to Case, the men’s team later went on to face Malone University a week later, also sustaining a loss.

The team has recognized entering the season that they lacked experience, welcoming a large first year class, along with several new upperclassmen, most of whom had never played rugby before. “We’re a really young team and will have four seniors graduating” reports team President Richard Perez ’20.

“We’ve got a good group of first years who are dedicated,” Perez adds.
This group of new players, all while still learning the game, stuck with the team during one of its most packed seasons, with a full schedule of matches beginning just after the first full week of classes. “We only had a week of practice before our first match” noted Vice President Ty Fleming ’19, “[this] resulted in injuries in the first match.”

Along with a quick turnaround for matches, and a large percentage of the team being novice players, injuries proved to be one of the team’s many obstacles. The guys sustained some half a dozen injuries in the first match alone, leading to the hospitalization of two players in Cleveland. Thankfully, they were only minor injuries.

These, along with the healing of prior injuries, prevented many players — both new and old — from playing on a consistent basis as the busy schedule progressed.

Once they were granted time to learn and review the basics, develop a strong playbook and heal their many various injuries, the team came back strong with a blowout victory against Ohio Northern at home during Big Red Weekend.

This momentum carried the team forward to their next victory against Baldwin Wallace, also at home. In these matches, the team showed great strength with their forward line, scrums, and rucking.

“The forwards were phenomenal… and our rucking was good and physicality was (also) really good…” reports Thomas Mitchell ’21, the team’s Match Coordinator. Many of the new players also played big roles in what was truly an excellent all-around game.

The team will now begin lifting and conditioning in preparation for the Spring season, which will begin sometime in March.

Between now and then, the team will be losing its longtime beloved scrum half, Ty Fleming ’19, when he graduates at the end of the semester.

In the coming Fall 15s season, Denison is slated to move into a higher division from their current place in the Great Lakes Rugby Conference, where they will compete against more established teams with less chance of forfeits, which prevented the team from playing in several of their scheduled matches this fall.

If you are at all interested in joining the team, please reach out to Thomas Mitchell at mitche_t2@denison.edu. No experience is required!

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