This past Friday night, Stephen F. Austin (SFA) came up to Richardson for the first match of this new academic year. UT Dallas Rugby players were rolling in, the goal posts and pads were in place and the fans were beginning to show up as well. This all meant, it's rugby time again, the bumps, the bruises pain that stays with you till the next morning. Then you forget about it because it's another week to play more rugby.
The lineup was set, everyone who wasn't in the starting XV, knew they would be a reserve, the match Referee Randy Campbell was ready, both sides were ready and on the pitch. On his whistle, the season officially began. The coaches and all of the returning players had done as much as we could in the way of passing on knowledge to the rookies in preparing them on what would happen. Some had an idea, some didn’t, most forgot and it was there, 15 large bodies wearing purple and black running at them with the intent of knocking them into the great unknown. At first it was like a deer in the head lights look, but that quickly disappeared, because we had to tackle, run and pass.
SFA managed to score the first two Trys, but UT Dallas fought back and scored their first Try of the year. Eljuri (Daniel) who was playing #8 charged down an SFA attempt to kick for territory, blocked the kick, picked up the ball and ran it into goal to score his and the clubs first Try of the 2015-16 campaign.
The second half was pretty much like the first half, balls passed, kicked, players tackled, up and down the pitch. UT Dallas had done their best at moving the ball around the pitch, and it was inside SFA’s 22 meter line that Andrew Whiteis found some space and darted through the SFA defenders to score his first and the clubs second Try of the season. The final score SFA 17, UT Dallas 12, not a bad showing for our first time out.
Every one of the UT Dallas players showed all the aspects of playing rugby and in general played very well together. We have a lot of talent and now they know what is needed to play this great game. Now it’s time to work on improving on the things we didn’t do so well and continue to build on the things we did good.
There is no game next weekend, but in its place will be the 2nd Lonestar Conference Players Clinic. This clinic will be held at UT Dallas and is open to all men and women rugby players from all over the Lonestar Conference. Last year’s clinic had about 90 men and women attend the first ever clinic in Longview at LeTourneau University. This year we expect more players and will have several pods in which all players will get a taste of being coached various aspects of the game. From scrumaging, to rucking, to passing and tackling and learning to be an assistant referee.