On Saturday, September 24th, the Roanoke Rugby Club played an intense match against Washington & Lee resulting in a victory for the opposing team.
This was my first Rugby match ever attending and to be honest, it got me truly excited. Of course, at first I had no idea what was going on and did not understand why mega-buff men were screaming and tackling each other without restraint. But the more I watched, the more I became enthralled and wanted to learn more and this is what I discovered:
Rugby is not a highly popular sport in the United States therefore the rules and object of the game are unclear to most people. Some compare it to football because of the excessive tackling, but really, rugby is a whole different game. Here is a brief run down of the game: To begin, there are 15 players from each team on opposing sides of the field. The game lasts for two 40 minute halves with extra time for injuries.
The object of the game is simply to score by carrying the ball from one end of the field to the end zone and touch the ball to the ground, or make a touchdown. However, it is not that simple, there are rules when carrying the ball down the field. One is, a player cannot make a forward pass, only a horizontal pass or backwards pass. When there is a reset to the play, there is a scrum, an even amount of players make a wall against the other team and push each other around until one team regains possession of the ball.
To complicate things, the team on defense is trying their best to stop the other team and acquire the rugby ball, which mean a lot of tackling. Rugby players are not equipped with mounds of padding like football players and on field injuries are common and occur often.
Although, Noke did not win their first Rugby match of the year, I couldn’t help but notice great sportsmanship from our boys. They assisted the other team when knocked down and even congratulated each other when one team scored. To top it off, the Noke team held a social for the Washington & Lee boys, like true gentlemen.
This is no sport for the faint-hearted, but I encourage everyone to go check out the next home game Saturday, October 1st at 1 o’clock on Elizabeth Campus. Whether you’ve seen a match, never seen a match and want to, or have nothing better to do go check out the Rugby match, I guarantee you 80 minutes of excitement.