Category Archives: Rugby

Times are Changing for BGSU Rugby

It’s almost that time of year again. The time of the year for bone crushing hits, jaw dropping passes, and runs that will have you saying, “Wow, I wish I could do that!” Yes, the BGSU Men’s Rugby season is upon us. Coming off a spectacular showing at the USA Sevens Rugby Collegiate Championship Invitational, with our own Rocco Mauer being named MVP, the BGSU Men’s Rugby team is hoping to keep the momentum rolling. With an experienced backline, led by Nick Viviani, and a group of young, promising forwards, the BGSU Men’s Rugby team is poised to make another journey to nationals, but this year that journey will be a little different.

The Division 1 rugby landscape has undergone a shift of seismic proportions. 32 of the top teams have left Division 1 to form the new College Rugby Premier League. Unfortunately, Bowling Green could not participate due to financial and travel issues, which left some players and coaches disappointed. “This is going to be a  good thing for college rugby, because by having all of the elite teams playing against each other, college rugby will get more exposure, it’s just a bummer though that we can’t be a part of that”, says senior scrumhalf Ben Marshall.

So, where does this leave Bowling Green and the rest of Division 1? Will the BGSU Men’s Rugby team be left without anyone to compete against? The road to the national championship is different for the upcoming season.

The tradition of the Midwest Championship is no more. With Bowling Green dominating the Midwest, winning the last three championships, their competitors are likely pleased.  Bowling Green is now part of the Eastern Conference, along with Indiana, Davenport, Miami (OH), and Purdue. There will be a four team playoff to determine who earns a spot in the Division 1 National Championships.

The primary advantage to this format is that travel costs are reduced. The conference tournament is held a little bit closer to home, rather than having to travel to Minnesota, and the first round of the National Championships is more regionally based.

With the landscape of Division 1 rugby changing drastically, so does the BGSU Men’s Rugby team’s goals. It’s all about winning championships, except this time the focus has been put purely on winning a National Championship, instead of a Midwest Championship. With Nick Viviani and Rocco Mauer leading this group of very talented players, that goal is within reach.

BGSU Men’s Rugby Takes 3rd Straight Title, Heads to National Championships

Talent and strong work ethic are amongst the reasons BGSU men’s rugby won its third consecutive Midwest Rugby title and continues its season. Sunday, November 15, BGSU defeated Indiana University 21 – 10 in the championship game. The team advances to the Division I Collegiate Rugby National Championships in San Diego, Calif. on April 23 – 25, 2010.

After an October 31 loss to Ohio State, BGSU did not enter into this year’s Midwest tournament as the favorite. However, it was a 55 – 32 BGSU payback win in the semifinals over Ohio State that propelled the team into the championship game, where they would eventually win the title.

The October loss to Ohio State served as motivation.

“We realized we needed to work on the finer points of our game,” said BGSU men’s rugby President Justin Rutledge. “We weren’t able to complete our plays. The mental game was what we needed to work on.”

The wins over Ohio State and Indiana did not only lead BGSU to the conference title. Additionally, the team moves on to the National Championships, continuing what has already been an extremely successful season. The success the team has known has not come easy.

“We work hard at practice,” stated Rutledge. “When we find a weakness we work at it. We work together on and off the field.”

A competitive schedule and resilience have provided the team with the necessary experience and mindset going into the National Championships.

“The loss to Ohio State gave us a punch in the mouth,” said Rutledge. “It made us realize there are teams as good as us. Also, the win against Indiana showed us we can pull out a close victory.”

With the National Championships not starting until April, the team has a long break in action. Maintaining momentum could be a problem, but Rutledge sees opportunities to keep moving in a positive direction.

“I think we can keep this going by taking the winter seriously, but not too seriously,” said Rutledge. “We need to work to get better, but only concentrate on what we’re doing. We can’t be concerned about any opponents.”

For more information on BGSU men’s rugby, please visit the BGSU rugby Web site. For more information on Sport Clubs at BGSU Recreation and Wellness, please visit the Sport Clubs Web site.