Although it is still one of the sports less known to students at Pacific, rugby has been growing into the competitive sport participants want it to be.
Over the past three years, the team has finished with a winning record every season they have played in. Because of the growth, rugby was also able to receive funding during the summer.
The team consists of athletes who have previously played rugby, former football players or just students who want to join for fun. Most of the familiarity has come from word of mouth.
The informal recruiting process so far has not produced the numbers the team needs to fully participate in the league.
No matter what skill level, the rugby coaches welcome everyone who wants to give it a try.
“Rugby is a very welcoming affair and a very flexible sport,” said Coach Ben Dictus. “It is what you make it.”
Dictus has been part of the rugby program at Pacific a few years now, and is excited to watch this team continue growing.
“Since this team started up, this year has been the best,” said Dictus. “I would love for us to be able to compete in the fall next year and push our skill level forward.”
The low numbers have been troublesome for the competition Dictus is talking about.
“One of our biggest struggles right now is a lack of players,” said Dictus. “We have had a lot of injuries which has brought us below the mark for the competition we want to be in.”
In rugby, there are two different styles that can be played. One game involves seven players on the field at a time and lasts two, seven-minute periods. This is how Pacific has been playing. What Dictus and the rest of the coaches would like to do is have enough participants for the full 80-minute, 15-player style of game. Eventually, they want to win a Pacific Northwest Small College Rugby Union (PNSCRU) title.
Even though they haven’t accomplished all of their goals yet, players have still enjoyed the times they do get to play.
“Rugby is a really fun sport. One of the great things is it is not subdivided like other sports are. In football there are certain groups that you always work with, but in rugby everyone is on the field at the same time,” said player Edgar Rincón. “You really become close with everyone.”
Bringing new people into this sport is one of the reasons Dictus wanted to coach and he doesn’t want anyone to be deterred from trying.
“There is a perception that rugby is a very dangerous sport because there is no padding for protection,” he said. “Yes, it is a rough sport but most injuries are more superficial than serious. They don’t happen very often.”
According to Dictus, anyone can play rugby and give the commitment level they are comfortable with. Whether playing in full competition or just attending a few practices, the team wants to grow in any way they can.