Women’s club rugby down to play rough

Erika Robinson, Contributing Writer

Photo by Ana Garvin
Rugby next plays against Longwood University on Oct. 24. Photo by Ana Garvin

Club sports have become an outlet for former high school athletes that don’t possess the tangibles needed to play a collegiate sport. Hence, VCU has many club sports that are flooded with talent.

One of those is VCU’s women’s rugby team. They practice twice a week for two hours and have games on Saturday’s where they play other collegiate club teams.

Ruthie Rowane, a senior captain, came to VCU with a soccer background, but quickly transitioned into playing rugby. She has asserted herself as the leader of the team due to her determination to win and her four years of experience.

Photo by Ana Garvin
Photo by Ana Garvin

“You don’t have to be a huge girl to play rugby,” Rowane said. “There is a position for every size.”

While the sport is high-intensity and an easy one to quit. Rowane uses her experience to help younger players when she sees their play reflecting frustration.

“I always have to tell people to keep their heads up even when they are tired,” Rowane said. “I always tell them they aren’t tired, even though I’m exhausted. If I look tired, I can’t tell them not to be tired. I have to hide it and keep playing on.”

Rowane’s personal and team goals are mutually exclusive. Post-season play is not only her goal, but the teams as a whole – this could be the year.

“It’s my last year, so my goals are to just get better and help my team get better as a whole.” Rowane said. “I really want us to make it to the tournament, and we have a really good shot at making it this year.”

Giulia Disanto, a junior and member of the team, has played for three years. She recently transferred to VCU from George Washington University and was originally a hockey player. She wanted to be active with a club sport so she gave rugby a chance.

For her, the transition has been easy, but there is one aspect that she has not encountered before.

“I have never played a sport where everything depends so much on being a team,” Disanto said. “Like you can’t win a game unless everyone is working together.”

Disanto’s personal and team goals are similar: to get better and maintain constant communication.

“Get better at being able to go in at whatever position they need me at.” Disanto said. “My goals for the team, as far as the back line getting better with communication and passing the ball and working on hand skills.”

She attributes her motivation during games to her teammate’s competitive approach.

“The fact that I know no one else on the team is going to give up.” Disanto said. “I can’t give up and let them down.”

A lingering question about the sport is the game’s saftey. Known for being a tough and rugged sport, rugby isn’t a sport for the weak, but it isn’t a sport to fear either.

Photo by Ana Garvin
Photo by Ana Garvin

“It’s not as dangerous as you think it is,” Rowane said. “The fact that we don’t have pads makes it so that everyone tackles more safely. There are not as many concussions, you learn better form and you practice it so that you don’t get injured.

Rowane also mentioned she is optimistic that the sport will continue to grow throughout VCU.
The Rams take on the College of William and Mary this Saturday, Oct. 17.

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