Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Rugby team stays hot to start season

The UW-Whitewater men’s Rugby Team has created the loftiest expectations possible for itself.

Last year, the team had a  undefeated season, which was capped with a 7-3 victory over Middlebury to win the national championship.

The men’s rugby team prepares for a scrum in its match against UW-La Crosse, which the `Hawks won 37-15. The team is off to a 3-0 start this season after achieving a perfect record last season on the way to a national championship. Photo by Carol Anne Maveety

So far this season, the team has picked up just where it left off, going 3-0. The highlight of the season to this point was a 37-15 blowout of UW-La Crosse, a rival of the ‘Hawks.

The fall season for the rugby team consists of the Warhawks’ conference schedule, along with the NCAA Midwest Tournament.

Assuming the ’Hawks finish first or second in their conference, the team will advance to the Midwest Tournament. From there they hope to do well enough to qualify for the NCAA National Tournament for the second consecutive year.

Will Atkinson, president of the Rugby Club, said the team’s success last year has made recruiting players to join the team much easier.

“Now we have guys coming to ask about the team, so recruiting has kind of taken care of itself,” Atkinson said.

This is one of the reasons Atkinson believes the team has a chance to achieve success again this year, despite losing some players.

“We lost quite a few good players from last year, but we still have some talented guys, like Chuck Taylor, and we got a lot of good athletes to come out for the team,” Atkinson said.

Taylor, a junior, was recognized as a Division-II All-American this past year and he agrees with Atkinson that winning a national championship has made rugby much more popular on campus.

“It’s nice being able to tell freshmen we won a national championship last year, come join the fun,” Taylor said. “We plan to do it again this year.”

Taylor and Head Coach Pat O’Connor both believe the current squad has a chance to repeat last year’s ‘magical season.’

The program has a history of taking dedicated athletes who have little to no rugby experience and making them into solid contributors for the team.

O’Connor said the willingness of the players to work hard is the key to the team’s success.

The Warhawk Rugby players received a commendation from the Whitewater Common Council this past week. The entire team attended the ceremony.

O’Connor said he invited the new players to give them a taste of success so they would be hungry for more.

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Founded 1901
Rugby team stays hot to start season