Rugby club wins against Ole Miss

A North Alabama rugby player rushes toward the opponent in the Lions’ season-opening victory against Vanderbilt at Veterans Park Sept. 3, 2016. The Lions will play against Vanderbilt again in the upcoming weeks.

by Sports Editor Jacob Cole

The North Alabama Rugby Club team took down Ole Miss last week, and they are looking for more success in the future.

The Lions beat the Rebels 50-34 to start the season at 1-0. Head coach Eddie Roberts said he hopes the win boosts his team’s play, and also helps bring more people to play on the campus at UNA.

“It’s a big win for the program, beating an SEC opponent,” Roberts said. “It gets our season off to a great start and, hopefully, will help us with recruiting on campus.”

The Lions Rugby team plays all Division I teams during its non-conference schedule, including the University of Memphis and Vanderbilt University in the next two weeks.

After UNA’s 50-34 win over Ole Miss, outside center Darnell Dothard said the win shows how good the team can be.

“It was a great win because it tested our ability, and it showed us the things we did well and aspects we need to improve on,” Dothard said. “It demonstrates we can compete with Division I schools.”

Roberts said the seniors did an excellent job in game one, with the newcomers making an impact.

“Everyone played well, Roberts said. “With our senior leadership on this team it is hard to pick just one person as a standout. It was truly a team win. We were also able to get a lot of new players on the field.”

Roberts said many of the new players played well and should be able to help down the road for the UNA Rugby Club. The club relies on people on campus signing up to play at anytime during the semester.

Dothard said he hopes more people come play for the team because rugby is unique.

“It is the definition of a team sport because it is hard for one player to completely dominate a game like in other sports,” Dothard said. “To be successful as a team, you have to collaborate and work together.”

Roberts said he is ready to see how the season progresses.

“We are very optimistic about the new season,” Roberts said.

Anyone interested in joining the UNA Rugby Club can contact head coach Eddie Roberts by email at [email protected] or by cell phone at 256-309-8707.