Southeastern Rugby Club makes a comeback


File Photo/The Lion’s Roar

Since the Southeastern Rugby Club’s reestablishment last year, the club has been recruiting players of all backgrounds. Many of the athletes, however, join with no prior experience.

The oldest rugby program in the state of Louisiana made a comeback last semester, successfully reforming after a 13-year break.

The rugby club finished its season this spring. Even with their season over, however, the rugby players are scheduled to attend tournaments including one in New Orleans on March 24.

Mark Dixon, assistant head coach, is intent on fostering an ambitious spirit within the team.

“We are striving as coaches and striving, trying to build this program so that it is a competitive program,” said Dixon. “There is always fun involved in all club sports and all athletics, but we are pushing the program to be a very competitive program.”

Dixon recalled an incident that occurred in January and made him proud.

“A couple weeks ago, we played in the Louisiana collegiate tournament,” shared Dixon. “Comin’ back from the semester break, you know, we lost a few players. We picked up one or two players, and then we had to automatically go play at the end of January in this collegiate tournament where we only had 15 players. And those 15 players, I really believe they came together as a team a lot for this tournament because they had to play four games in one day.”

With no reserves and no substitutes, the team came in second in the tournament.

Cole Stevens played in the Louisiana Collegiate tournament. He discussed what makes rugby the sport that it is.

“Rugby is kind of the physicality of football with the hitting, but you have to have the conditioning of like soccer because it’s an 80-minute game, and it’s two 40-minute halves,” explained Stevens. “So, you play for a full 40 minutes and have like a five minute break, and then another 40 minutes.”

Even after having played rugby for a year before joining the university’s club, Stevens believes that the hardest part about the sport is the physical conditioning because he feels like he is “dying after 10 minutes.” Despite this, Stevens found “the brotherhood you make with the guys you’re playing with and even the respect that you get from the other team” make the training worth it.

“On the field, it’s every man for themself, between the two teams, but off the field, you’re friends,” said Stevens. “You hang out. You go to each other’s house.”

As the rugby team continues to grow and recruit players, Dixon shared a goal that involves the Hammond community.

Dixon stated, “We’d like to make sure, or like to continue to get the alumni around Southeastern and around Hammond involved with the program because we want ‘em to come out and enjoy the games to start with, but we want ‘em also to come out and engage and practice and talk to these guys and maybe even coach ‘em and teach ‘em a few things.”