Club Sports Profile: Rugby
Getting involved on campus is something every student hears about when arriving in Auburn.
There are seemingly endless opportunities to become plugged into a club or organization. One of the most significant ways to get involved is to join a club sports team.
Club sports are extremely valuable to the university and to their members, and often very competitive. Here at Auburn, we have regional champions, national representation and even some national champions. Unfortunately, despite being very successful, D-1 sports still receive most of the attention. As a club sport member myself, I wanted to highlight these programs and give them a little bit of the glory they deserve.
Although they are often overshadowed by their massive brother sport, football, the Auburn Rugby team is definitely one of the more intriguing organizations on campus. I didn’t know much about rugby, so when I showed up to practice this week, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
When I arrived the team was already doing drills. They were practicing a combination of tackling and diving down to the ground. After the drill, I got a chance to talk to Samir Khan, a junior and 3rd year player. Somehow, he was still full of energy.
After a disappointing season last year, I asked him how they were looking to improve. “We only lost a couple of good players. This year the team is more committed.” said Khan. “There’s also more structure to the team, and we have a lot of new guys developing their game quickly.”
What I found most interesting was his response when I asked him what message the team wanted to send to their players and their opposition. “Even though we are a developing team that wont necessarily have the best technical skills, we are all about hard work. We’re gonna get out there, and when you underestimate us, we’re gonna hit you in the mouth.” It was clear that the rugby team has a point to prove, and they are planning on playing like it.
Towards the end of my time at practice, I asked Samir what misconceptions he wanted to clear up about rugby. “Rugby isn’t as dangerous as people think, it’s actually a lot safer than football. NFL teams hire local rugby clubs to teach safe tackling technique.” Samir stressed that being nervous about the physicality of the sport shouldn’t be a reason not to play.
The rugby team is still looking for new players of any skill level! You can find them at the old track from 6-8 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Lydia P.