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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Young rugby team confident, 'very committed'

Although they found themselves in a badly lit section of the North Fee Lane fields, the men's rugby club practiced into the night.\nIntramural softball games waged in the background. Laughing, yelling and cheering students could be heard, but practice continued uninterrupted.\nCoach Sorosopa Enori has been involved with rugby his whole life, playing at the international level for Western Samoa. He said the outlook for the season is promising.\n"Even though we are a young team, I think the boys are very committed and we have a good chance this year," he said. "Our goal is to make the Midwest Tournament Final Four,"\nThe team defeated Indiana University of Pennsylvania 33-31 on Sept. 29, and players said the team is poised to continue their success. Enori said the team played well against their first three opponents, including Bowling Green, a team much bigger than IU.\n"Our team is coming along very well," said Enori. "We do not have big guys, so we have to use our techniques and tempo to our advantage."\nThe club started in 1953 and has been going strong since. Their greatest success came in the mid-1990's. The team made four appearances in the Sweet 16 of the National Tournament in the 1990s and reached the final four in 1998.\nBut until changes are made and IU provides more funding, rugby will remain a club sport, said players Laith Shaaban and Dan Langley.\n"I think it would be a varsity sport if it were not for the funding problems and the lower amounts of consideration," Langley said.\nBecause the team carries club status, it's always looking for more players. They do not cut players and have three separate teams, allowing everyone a chance to play, members said.\nShaaban said rugby is a popular sport worldwide. Langley added that is has found a niche regionally as well.\n"There are 15 high school teams in Indiana, including two here in Bloomington, which is where we came from," Langley said of himself and Shaaban.\nThe players commented on how the sport is tied to football. The game is scored like football, a "try," which is comparable to a touchdown in football, is worth five points, and the extra point is worth two. But unlike football, rugby is played without pads.\n"Without the pads, you do not have the false sense of security," said Shaaban. "So you have to know you are going to get hit, and you have to be smart."\nPlayers can also go for "drop goals," which are comparable to field goals in football. A drop goal is worth three and can be scored at any time during play.\n"Rugby is the link between soccer and football," Shaaban said.\nIn rugby, the same players play both offense and defense, and the action is continuous.\n"In rugby, the players are the decision makers because the coach only gets to talk to the team at halftime," Langley said. "The players make the decisions on the field for every play."\nMost players participate in other sports, including golf, basketball, and football. Three players on the team have played football at the college level.\nPractices involve different kinds of drills, including up-downs, moving together in a huddle as one, and scrimmages. The team practices Tuesday through Thursday for about two and a half hours each time.\n"I think the boys deserved to be recognized," Enori said. "They are working just as hard as any other team"

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