Club keeps Rugby alive at SLU

Southeastern hasn’t seen a Lions rugby team in a couple of years. A rapidly growing university paved over two rugby fields over time, making it difficult for teams of the past to maintain consistency, which led to disbandment.

This year, David Plauche, a current senior at Southeastern, decided it was time for another try. Plauche contacted several alumni from previous rugby teams and the group started recruiting on campus. Slowly but surely, a team was formed and the Southeastern rugby club is now back and competing in games and tournaments.

 “If you have any kind of interest in a sport, especially a contact sport, if you have any drive for competition, this gives you all the opportunity,” said Thomas Dericks, captain of the team and a sophomore majoring in kinesiology.

Unlike most sports, it has two separate seasons. “Fifteens” are played from fall to spring, usually consisting of teams of 15 playing against each other in a single game. “Sevens” are seven on seven games and are mostly played in tournaments. The Southeastern Rugby Club has been actively recruiting all semester and is gearing up for the upcoming summer sevens. As a part of the collegiate division called Deep South, they have played against other university teams, as well as men’s clubs from Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

An obstacle they have faced is that most players are entirely new to the sport. Plauche acts as an unofficial coach rather than a player, and Dericks also contributes to the learning process as team captain.

“We’ve been having to teach almost every player, we don’t have anybody that’s a seasoned veteran aside from David and Tommy,” said Cody Taylor, co-captain of the team and a criminal justice senior. “We have a lot of learning to do, but we’re young and we’re strong so that helps.”

Rugby is a unique sport, rather infamous for being intense and sometimes violent.

“I’ve never played football, I’ve never really played a contact sport,” said Taylor. “If you don’t like getting hit, you’re not going to like it. But if you don’t mind taking a hit or getting in there then it’s your sport. After the first hit, I was in love. In rugby you can just take the ball and run straight over somebody.”

On May 3, the new team will face off against Lions of the past in an alumni game, which will be played in Tickfaw, where one of the alumni owns a polo field.

 “The alumni are out for blood because we’ve been giving them lip the entire year,” said Taylor.

For more information on joining the team, current members are in the Student Union Mall on most Tuesdays and Thursdays to recruit new players. Over the summer, they will be at orientation sessions to talk to incoming freshmen. More contact information is also available on their Facebook page, “Southeastern Louisiana University Rugby Club.”