Club (Sports) or Die: Men’s Rugby team

“You’re only as strong as your weakest link.”

This statement may be thrown around a lot, but for the Georgetown Men’s Rugby team, it epitomizes their play on and off the field.

In a continuation of the club sports series, Vox caught up with rugby President Ken O’Brien (’16) to get the dish on the team.

For O’Brien, who joined the team on day one of his freshmen year, this rugby team has been central to his time at Georgetown. “I would venture to say we have the most tight-knit men’s group on campus”, he told Vox in an interview.

Through practices and games, O’Brien explained that friendships made on the field directly translate to ones off the field. He would know best, considering he currently lives in a house with five other rugby guys.

These friendships are not just built by simply joining the team. Being a member of rugby team is a lot of work.

There are practices three times a week held for two hours as well as an additional day for conditioning. “[Practices] include basic warm-up exercises, passing drills, tackling instruction, drills among separate position groups, and then non-contact, full 15-person team scrimmages,” O’Brien said.

This hard work certainly pays off, as O’Brien recalls in one of his favorite memories from September of 2013 when they played Towson, then ranked third in the country.

“It rained for two hours leading up to the game and continued pouring throughout the game. With about 8 minutes left in the second half, I scored the game-winning try on a punt return,” O’Brien said. This victory elevated the Georgetown team to number four nationally.

Invoking the spirit of “you’re only as strong as your weakest link,” O’Brien that this sensational team win was due to his teammates. “[They] had been grinding on rucks and scrums all game long,” he said.

Rugby plays games in both the fall and the spring semesters. They usually play 15 vs 15 with two 40-minute halves, but will occasionally play 7 vs 7. Tournaments typically involve multiple games per day, and are either double elimination or round robin play (similar to the World Cup).

“A select Sevens team will be traveling to Vegas next Wednesday for the Las Vegas Invitational, a qualifying tournament for the Collegiate Rugby Championship,” O’Brien told Vox. They will be playing against some tough competition, including Dartmouth and Air Force.

You don’t have to take a plane trip to see the team play, however. (Even though Vox is sure we all wouldn’t mind going to Las Vegas.)

This Sunday at 4 pm on Harbin Field, the team is hosting the second annual Dog Tag Rugby. It is a charity tournament to benefit Dog Tag Bakery, which educates and employs retired service members. You can also watch them this Friday night at 8 pm on Harbin Field against Mount St. Mary’s.

“It’s amazing to see what the team can accomplish when everyone buys in, trusts each other to keep fighting toward a common goal, and refuses to compromise for an entire 80 minute game,” O’Brien said.

Photo: Georgetown University Men’s Rugby Team via Facebook

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