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Rugby team still strong, sans support
This year 52 Quinnipiac students make up the New Blue Rugby Team. This team is led by their president, junior Ryan Brady, and its three captains Dave Motisi, Gerald Loehr and Jesse Ferraro. Quinnipiac University, however, does not sponsor this team and they instead play in a division called NERFU: New England Rugby Football Union.
The name New Blue Rugby is derived from the “parent” rugby team that preceded them, the Old Blacks. There are no official tryouts for the team; everyone is welcome to join the team for practice and games. Although this team is considered by Quinnipiac University as simply a collegiate club, New Blue Rugby practices and plays just as hard as any other Quinnipiac sport.
There are two hour practices every Monday and Tuesday at Boulevard Field in New Haven, where the players focus on running and conditioning. On Friday there is another two hour practice where the team runs through the plays for the games that are on Saturdays.
NERFU has five separate divisions. New Blue Rugby, new to the union because it was only established in 2004, is considered Division III.
The university does not sponsor or recognize New Blue Rugby, which creates many concerns with the president of the team, Ryan Brady.
“We don’t even have an advisor for our team,” Brady said. “And that makes it difficult to schedule games and practices. I have to schedule where and when practices and games will be around mine and all of the player’s class schedules and that is really hard.”
For the first time this year Ben Boghtaugh joins the team as their coach. According to Brady this is a step in the right direction. Dues of $100 for each player also makes it easier for Brady to plan team socials, events and bus trips to away games.
Brady has many thoughts as to why Quinnipiac will not sponsor the team. First and foremost Quinnipiac does not support club sports. However, Cheerleading is a club sport and is sponsored by QU. Since becoming president, Brady has talked to President Lahey and the president of the athletics department about the issues of sponsorship.
“No one has given me a concrete answer as to why Quinnipiac University will not sponsor New Blue Rugby,” Brady said.
Brady also claims that Quinnipiac may not sponsor the team for insurance reasons. Rugby is known for its dangerous nature and many injuries. The school could also be worried about its image, Brady said, because Rugby has been strongly connected to drinking for many years.
The New Blue Rugby team holds their home games behind Wentworth’s ice cream shop on Whitney Avenue. On Oct. 23 the team will be hosting the University of Hartford, and would welcome and greatly appreciate any support from Quinnipiac students and faculty.