Home » Sports

Don’t ruck with the UALR rugby club

Submitted by Margaret Rogers on October 23, 2014 – 3:32 pmOne Comment

For those unfamiliar with rugby and can only associate the sport with football, there are some differences between the two sports.

Rugby is played with an oval ball that can be passed from hand to hand, carried or kicked during game play. Points are scored when players get the ball on or over the goal line or “try zone.” A “try” happens when a players grounds the ball in the opposition’s in goal area. A player can kick the ball between the uprights and over the cross bar in various situations to get points. The goal of the game is to try and score as much as possible to defeat the opponent. A “ruck” is when a mass of players gather around a ball dropped by a tackled ball carrier to try and gain possession of the ball by kicking it to a teammate.

The UALR Rugby Club started in the mid 1980s but died out as time passed. Captain Zachary Martin is teaming up with some individuals involved with the rugby community to bring it back to life.

“A few patriarchs of our very own rugby community here in Little Rock, brought it to the UALR Administration as an idea and they liked it so we had an interest meeting over the summer and here we are,” Martin said.

Martin and others worked hard to make sure all of this was going to succeed; so far everything is going to plan.

Currently, there are about 16 men who attend the practices. Martin said that he and others would like to see the program flourish even further in the future.

“We are trying for a seven’s rugby team that has seven players on the field at one time,” Martin said. “But we want to continue on and build towards a fifteen’s which of course would have 15 players.”

At team practices, they’re focusing on drills that will improve their abilities as rugby players.

“Practices are full of passing drills aimed toward enhancing our handling skills and other field drills that incorporate beneficial habits in the game, as well as contact drills with pads and also without,” Martin said.

Since the rugby program is still very new, they currently have one game scheduled for the fall season. They will be competing at a tournament in Jonesboro, Ark. on Nov. 22. There, they will face Arkansas State University’s seven’s team who are back-to-back national champions. Martin says with the determination the team has, they will only continue to improve and expand. They have started team workouts in the mornings and everyone is at practice every week and on time on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“We can only grow from such a strong base and we are looking forward to more guys coming out and adding to our team,” Martin said.

The team’s volunteer coach is Julie McCoy. She is involved with the rugby community. Martin says that she coached numerous men and women’s teams who had victorious seasons under her leadership.

Even though this is the team’s first season together, the players seem to already have a great connection with each other. Martin said they do various activities together, like working out and getting a bite to eat after practices.

“It is really amazing how well we fit together, despite the short time we have all known each other,” Martin said.

One Comment »

  • Tom says:

    Rugby is very popular in New Zealand. The Aussie’s have a special kind of Rugby (Australian Rugby). There are a few differents.