At USF we have 13 D-1 teams competing in the West Coast Conference, seven women’s teams and six men’s teams. But also here at San Francisco are 10 club teams that compete at the intercollegiate level, one of which is rugby. Though many may know what rugby is, they may not know how the game is played.
Sophomore club player Dallas Hogue, a sociology major, tried his best to put it all simply. Rugby is a 15v15 sport, with two 40-minute halves. It’s a full contact sport with no pads and the ball can be thrown freely sideways and backwards. The key positions in the game are forwards who are similar to linemen in football, backs who are like wide-receivers, and the scrum-half who is like a quarterback. Players are also allowed to kick the ball in rugby. In terms of scoring a team is awarded five points for a try, two points for the conversion after, and three points for a penalty kick.
There is also a variation of the game known as “sevens”. Unlike fifteen’s, which is very team oriented, sevens has much more space and therefore it’s possible for a single player to take over a game dominate the flow of the game. Our school competes in both variations. This season in particular was the best regular season San Francisco has ever had in fifteen’s, finishing 5-2. Unfortunately for the Dons they finished as the West Coast Regional runner-ups in the regional finals, falling to Point Loma Nazurine.
Before coming to USF Dallas Hogue actually hadn’t played rugby before. One of his friends was playing and after checking it out and signing up he fell in love instantly. So much so that he began following Super Rugby, one of the biggest rugby leagues with 18 teams from five different countries: Argentina, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Africa. The rugby World Cup is also a must which will come back around in 2019. He even tries to model his game after Aaron Smith, who plays for the Highlanders in Super Rugby and his home country of New Zealand.
Thus far he’s not concerned with playing at a professional level but if the opportunity were to present itself he would definitely consider it. He’s enjoying his time playing at the club level, mentioning that his favorite moment so far has been traveling to Washington state for playoffs, having an amazing experience competing at a competitive level, and creating close bond with all of his teammates.
The goal for Hogue next season is to make the playoffs once again, win the regional finals and at least place during nationals. If you’d like to join Hogue and his mates next year, contact coach Robert Azcarate-Bascherini or check out the “Club Sports” page on the Koret website.
Photo Courtesy of Dallas Hogue