Hailing from the United Kingdom, the sport of rugby traveled overseas and has landed on campus with the Murray State Rugby Football Club.
Rugby started in English public schools during the 19th century and many consider it the inspiration for what is known as American football today. After its success among European students, the sport spread throughout Europe into countries like France and Spain.
“Rugby brings a culture with it,” said Erik Schall, president of the Murray State Rugby Club. “I’ve played six different sports in my life and rugby has a history that no other sport has.”
Unlike football, which stops the clock after each play is completed, rugby remains a fast-paced and rough game. Rugby players also wear minimal padding and play both offensive and defensive positions. The ball cannot be passed forward, but can be passed backward if necessary.
“There is literally no stopping in a game,” Schall said. “Even if there’s downs or injuries, you just keep playing while they get carted off.”
Rugby is still in the process of being recognized as an NCAA sport, but competition is still high. Murray State is part of the Dixie League and plays against schools like Sewanee, UT-Martin and Tennessee Tech.
Being part of the Rugby Club means having dedication and hard work. The team practices every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Hamilton Field.
When not practicing or playing games, most of the players stay fit with a rigorous workout regimen.
“Most of us work out every single day outside of practice,” Schall said. “We have two football players on the team and they keep in shape, too. It’s a very physically demanding sport so it helps to stay fit.”
Schall said the Rugby Club would be best described as a family, and the group of 30 players are brought together by the sport.
“No other sport has the same level of respect as rugby does,” he said. “Personally, I think it’s the best sport I’ve ever played.”
The club’s purpose is the cultivation of development of rugby student athletes focused on hard work, dedication, sportsmanship and teamwork.
If interested in joining the Murray State Rugby Football Club, contact Erik Schall at firstname.lastname@example.org.