Club sports: CMU rugby aims for growth and fun

The club rugby team huddles together after a practice. The team welcomes anyone regardless of skill. (credit: Courtesy of Rugby Football Club via The Bridge) The club rugby team huddles together after a practice. The team welcomes anyone regardless of skill. (credit: Courtesy of Rugby Football Club via The Bridge)

Every Monday and Wednesday from 9 to 11 p.m. and every Friday from 7 to 9 p.m., rugby is happening. Founded in 2000, Carnegie Mellon’s club rugby team adores their game. The division three club team doesn’t mind the mid-afternoon games nor the late practices, because they feel the connections they build through the team outweigh the difficulties they face.

Players often describe rugby as a mixture between soccer and football, with its own unique characteristics. The game focuses on the opposing team’s weaknesses and creating space between their players; with this space, they run plays to attempt to herd the team out of bounds. When successful in getting the other team out of bounds, the game resets with one of its unique characteristics: the lineout. The lineout consists of two players of each team lifting a third into the air as one team throws the ball back into bounds. Another unique characteristic is the forward scrum play where the players lock arms in a show of strength and attempt to push the opposing team further down their side of the field.

The game is in season in the fall, which was the second week into the school year this semester. Club rugby will typically play six games since they are one of the seven teams in their division and, if they do well in those games, will move onto playing in a tournament. Each year, the ultimate goal is to reach and win the Three Rivers Rugby Conference. In addition to in-season games, once students return from spring break, the team organizes up to four out-of-season games with local colleges.

To prepare players the team hosts classroom sessions in addition to practices. These classroom sessions often happen during the preseason or offseason to refresh player’s knowledge and learn more about rugby strategy. Graduate student in Mechanical Engineering and president of the club Sebastian Murati talked about how he gets the team together.

“We’ve done a lot of practices in the Arena Room in Skibo before. We’ll typically do a lot of... agility and speed [activities]. We’ll play different variations of touch rugby; we’ll just play different games like soccer or soccer with a rugby ball. Just stuff like that to get us moving,” said Murati.
So who can join? Anyone, according to Murati. Although the club does not have a women’s team, they welcome women interested in rugby into the club and will happily teach them the ropes.

To get more information, visit the club’s Bridge, Facebook, or Instagram pages or contact Murati at Practices are Mondays and Wednesdays 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. on the football field or CFA lawn and Friday 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the football field; anyone is welcome to show up and learn the ropes.

“We’re friends for life and that’s very much what rugby is about,” said Murati. “It’s not about winning or the competition, it’s about having fun with your friends and getting out there and having a good time. In the end, win or lose, [hope] you had fun.”