Rugby: A contact sport for UMKC

Dan Moreno

Rugby, known as an extreme contact sport, was recently established at UMKC. Originally invented in England, rugby has gained slow popularity in the U.S., but a group of UMKC students united to increase the sport’s exposure and garner student interest.

“UMKC needed a contact sport,” said Aaron Dzik, the rugby team’s captain and president. “It is something new [for UMKC] and entertaining. Everyone loves [something] new.”

Dzik described rugby as, “basically run forward, pass backwards. Lots of contact and no pads involved.” It is played on a 110-yard field with 15 players on each team. The goal is to score a “try,” which is similar to a touchdown in football, and it is worth five points. Whichever team scores more points during the two 40-minute halves wins.

A contact sport played without padding and other protective gear may sound intimidating, but Dzik and other enthusiasts are excited about the possibilities for the sport on campus. “It is nice to say that rugby is rapidly growing in the U.S.,” he said.

UMKC’s rugby team is not officially affiliated with NCAA rules, because it is not listed as a sport in the Athletic Department. Instead, it is considered a club.

“Hopefully within the next couple of years we will be recognized as a quality team so we can be added into the university’s sports arsenal,” said Dzik.

Tom Schultz is in charge of advising the team and encouraging its involvement with the Athletic Department.

“He’s been very helpful with getting everything set,” Dzik said.  The team has seen support from UMKC and is looking forward to future success.

This year, the team was accepted into the Gateway Collegiate Rugby Conference, where teams such as St. Louis University will participate.

“Recently the College Rugby Championships were televised on NBC, which is giving Rugby a lot of publicity,” said Dzik.

Though UMKC’s rugby team is considered a club, there are certain requirements students must fulfill to be part of the team. The most important qualification is being a full-time UMKC student.

“We have 25 players on the roster,” Dzik said. “They range anywhere from being in the six-year Med School to engineers, architects and many more. “

To promote recruitment, the team has created banners, posters and flyers which hang across campus.

“We are also giving out recruitment t-shirts and setting up stands to talk to players,” Dzik said.

For more information on the UMKC Rugby Team, call Dzik at (573) 513-2574.

On September 22nd and 29th there are two home games, played at the Durwood Soccer Stadium and at Swope Park.

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