Clarkson University’s Men’s Rugby Team is a long-standing group of gentlemen that have come together for the past 40 years to play the lesser-known sport of rugby. The Clarkson University Men’s Rugby Team is a unique experience for all individuals of any experience level. Many of the most active members today have never played Rugby in a competitive setting before coming to Clarkson. This allows the team to create a casual yet competitive environment for players of any commitment level. The team has continued to grow throughout the years, maintaining a membership of 35-40 active players of all skill and experience levels. The team strives to maintain its openness to new players in a judgment-free environment.
The program has found lots of interest with international students coming to Clarkson as Rugby is more popular outside of the United States. Many of our international students have been playing most of their lives and the team is always welcoming to the mentorship and knowledge these extremely talented and experienced members bring to the program. This opportunity to have experienced players on our team allows us to have a program that fosters and develops brand-new players into well-seasoned Rugby veterans. Every year we hope to encourage incoming international students, regardless of experience, to join the program for the semester.
The biggest goals of the club are to spread the knowledge and appreciation of Rugby to new players. The team is a self-coached and self-disciplined collection of athletes that strives to be the best in the Upstate New York Men’s Collegiate Rugby Conference. This conference includes programs from St. Lawrence University, SUNY Plattsburgh, SUNY Potsdam, and Oswego among others. The young men on the team are extremely dedicated to the sport, as without a coach, it requires many veteran players to mentor the inexperienced newcomers into well-seasoned players before the season begins.
My start in the Clarkson Men’s Rugby Team began in the Spring of 2022 in my Junior year at Clarkson. I began attending the off-season practices at Walker Arena in order to get back into the sport. The indoor practices that prepped the team for the Spring 7s season gave a great introduction to the program. When I came in already having three years of Rugby experience, it was easy to settle into the team with regular workouts and practices. Many of the veteran players were extremely knowledgeable about the sport and made sure to cultivate improvement in newcomers.
The president at the time, Andrew Bennett 21’ made the club extremely welcoming and open to new players, regardless of experience. The team itself was extremely open to newcomers and gave a great environment for coming back into Rugby. Immediately I wanted to be more involved with the excellent program they had developed. Attending the regular conditioning sessions at the local gym Beast Fitness was a great way to meet more people on the team as well as an opportunity to further dedicate myself to the sport before the Spring season began. As the season progressed, I joined the e-board as Campus Relations Chair to give back to the program and allow us to make improvements to the team for future members. Joining the e-board of the program gave me a great opportunity to learn the management of a sports team and further grew my dedication to the sport.
The Spring 2022 season was a busy travel season for the team, traveling all over New York to play some of the top-ranked Rugby teams in New York State. As well, the program has the opportunity every year to travel out of state for the largest college Rugby tournament in the world, Beast of the East.
The Beast of the East tournament is the highlight of the Spring Rugby season. The team travels to Rhode Island for a weekend in the Spring semester to compete against some of the best and biggest programs in the North East. Teams from all over collide in this tournament, allowing this tournament to be one of the best experiences for meeting players and playing great Rugby. The tournament is a great opportunity for newcomers and veterans alike to play alongside the great teams of the North East, allowing skills to develop beyond our conference. During our 2022 Spring season, we left the tournament with two wins under our belt against SUNY Maritime and UMass Dartmouth and got knocked out after a close rematch with UMass Dartmouth.
Accomplishments and Future Goals
Most recently, the club has overseen the completion of the Woodstock Rugby Field, which was a huge goal for our past presidents. With this field, the team now has a regularly maintained field for practices as well as home tournaments during the Fall. For the Fall season, the team is out on the field Monday through Friday preparing for the season ahead of them. The field is a huge asset to our program as it gives us a dedicated space to host our practices, as well as be able to hone our skills on a legitimate Rugby pitch. As well, we regularly have guest coaches coming in to refine our skills and give us expertise that we wouldn’t have access to without a coach. Coaches from Paul Smith’s College’s Rugby program have been a huge benefit to the program during the Fall 2022 season, allowing us to give knowledgeable and focused instruction to our new players.
The biggest goal for the future of the Rugby program at Clarkson is fostering its continued growth. Each year more players come on to the team and grow to love the sport of Rugby. The team hopes the growth and passion in the club continues into the future and we hope to have further opportunities from Clarkson to travel and compete outside of New York. The teams before our current lineup worked hard to make a name for the program in our conference and we hope to continue that reputation into the future. With the Spring 2023 season fast approaching, we’re hoping to put in the work this semester and come out with a polished and successful Rugby program for future players to enjoy.
For experienced or new players, if you’re interested in learning more about the team, be sure to contact Clarkson Rugby’s Campus Relations Chair: firstname.lastname@example.org or President: email@example.com with any questions. Any new players are welcome to walk on during our practices to get an introduction to the sport. Practice information is also available on our Instagram @clarksonmensrugby.