Point Park Rugby Club sets ‘goals’ for upcoming season

Written By Josh Croup

The 2014 Point Park University Rugby Football Club has high expectations for this upcoming season both on and off of the field. 

With a number of returning starters and experienced players, the Point Park Rugby Club hopes to improve upon both their 2013-2014 season, which resulted in few wins on the field and a number of victories off of the field. 

Last year, the Rugby Club was selected as the Student Organization of the Year. This year they have received more money from United Student Government than any other campus group. The club also raised more money than any other group last year through various fundraisers. A contributing factor to the club winning the Student Organization of the Year title last year was the volunteer work that the club did. 

The club has volunteered at numerous events around campus including most recently assisting with move-in day. Off campus, the club has adopted a highway. The team is serious about its community service and fundraising events.

“Community service attendance goes the same as practices and meetings. Don’t miss them,” Travis Johnston told the team at their first meeting.

“It’s just as important as playing because that’s how we get support from people and have people to back us. It’s one thing that we should do as a club,” team co-captain Richie Carver said. 

Jake Como is entering his junior year with the rugby club. Like the rest of the club, he has high expectations for the team this season on the field. 

“Last year we were excited. This year we’re prepared,” Como said. “We want to eliminate as many losses as we can, as well as play an exciting brand of rugby that everybody will want to come out and watch.”

Junior player Alden Roth has similar expectations to Como. 

“Last year we were in the conference for the first time. This year we’re definitely expecting to do a lot better. Our team has been working all summer and we’ve gotten some new recruits,” Roth said.  “We want to go .500 of course, but we’re going to shoot for the stars and try to win every game this season.”

The first step to winning is taken in practice. Team co-captain Troy Johnston is entering his senior year with the rugby club. Johnston and Carver are taking a new approach to practices this season.     “We’re trying to be more fundamental. Before, we were a physical team and didn’t really know the rules that much and didn’t know strategy.” Johnston said. “We’ve all been studying and watching videos to learn the game better. We want to have a mind for the game.” 

“In the past, all we’ve really done is beat the crap out of each other. Now that we all understand rugby a littler better, we’re going to have a little more formulated and organized practices,” Carver said.

The rugby club is different from any other sports team at Point Park for one reason: there is no coach. Despite this, Como says that the team has no problem respecting their captains. 

“It’s a little bit difficult sometimes to listen to somebody your own age, but I don’t see it like that at all. Everybody has tremendous respect for the guys on the team, especially Troy and Richie,” Como said. 

Carver says that it means a lot to be respected by the team. 

“It’s a group effort. You can’t play rugby without all 15 guys on the field. I never try to forget that,” Carver said. 

Roth says that he is feeling prepared for the season, but the club needs to work hard this season to keep its fan base. 

“If we want to get people to come back to the games, we have to step it up a notch,” Roth said. “If you’re looking to get out of Downtown or looking for something else to do, the game is where you’ll find it.”

The Point Park Rugby Club will be in action for the first time this season on Saturday Sept. 6 when they play host to Grove City College. Shuttles will be available to transport students to Quarry Field in the South Side for the 1 p.m. start.