The Georgetown club rugby team was founded in 1967 and holds an impressive legacy of success here on the Hilltop. After a strong 2013-2014 season during which they won their 48th Cherry Blossom Rugby Tournament title, the team is hoping they can build on their tradition of success. This season is accompanied by plentiful change, with key players graduating from the Hilltop, and the club exploring different tournaments.
Jack Sheridan, one of the captains last year, who played the position of the fly, graduated this past May, along with four other seniors who were on the first string for the club. Younger and more inexperienced players have been called upon to step up to fill the void. Despite losing to George Washington in a shocking encounter last spring, the Blue and Gray have already reclaimed their dignity this year with a 28-7 victory against GW in their first conference game this season. Rugby Captain Conor Shea described the win as “a confidence booster, which has gotten the ball rolling for the team this year.”
Georgetown plays in the Division II Capital Rugby Union with eight other teams from Maryland, Virginia, and the District. The top two teams from this group earn themselves a place in the coveted national championship. Unfortunately for Georgetown, two of the best and most organized teams in the country, Towson University and Salisbury University, also play in the same division. However, last year the Hoyas managed to split games against both these teams, which bodes well for this season considering they both pose the only real threats to the Hoyas for most of the season.
“I want to see the team develop in many positions as they replace seniors, and get a spot in the national championship in the fall,” Shea said.
These goals are certainly realistic due to the increase of fellow students’ interest in rugby. This year, the club has swelled to include more members than they’ve ever had before. In addition, the team has a new head coach who has brought a new attitude to the team.
“In my time here I’ve never seen so many people consistently show up to practice and games,” said Shea. This is sure to pay off during the season. With many of the team’s athletes playing rugby for the first time, consistent exposure will result in a stronger team down the line.
Georgetown rugby is also looking to increase the number of tournaments it attends. Traditionally, rugby is played with teams of 15, and in the fall, the club will be sticking to this format. However, in the spring, the team will also look to form a condensed squad to participate in seven-versus-seven tournaments.
The team has also been in continuous conflict with the Georgetown administration. Thanks to their status as a club team, oftentimes they book fields well in advance only to have them taken away at the last minute. During the GW game, for example, the club booked Harbin Field for three hours but their time was arbitrarily cut after a visiting varsity soccer team, arriving late, needed the field to practice.
The team’s last home game this fall is against George Mason University on Oct. 11 at 3:00 p.m. on Harbin Field.