Players from each team line up facing each other as they prepare to scrum. Their breathing heavy and ragged, sweat completely soaks their jerseys and steam rolls from their skin to the crisp winter air. The referee gives each team a moment to bind onto their teammates, each squad forming a solid mass of players linked by arms, shoulders, and legs.
The referee gives the plays the “Crouch” call, signaling their team should begin to lower their centers of gravity and prepare for impact with the opposing squad. As the referee says “Bind,” the members of the front line of each team, called props, reach out and grab the back of the jersey of the opposing team’s props, linking the two teams’ scrums together.
The instant the referee shouts “Set!,” the two teams propel into one another, the shoulders of the two teams props colliding with the immense force of the entire unit. This violent process decides possession of the ball off a penalty and is only one of the many parts of a rugby match.
The Jesuit Rugby Team started their season off on January 19th with a thrilling 34-33 win over The Woodlands of Houston. The Rangers fought hard against the 2017 state champions and were able to clinch the victory with the help of a few key defensive stops, several difficult conversions kicked by Mitchell Campbell ’20, and four tries scored by Will Woodard ’19.
Next, the Rangers took on the North Texas Barbarians at Postell Stadium on January 24th and came out with another victory, 37-7. The Rangers maintained a solid lead throughout the match and improved to 2-0 on the year.
Jesuit met St. Thomas of Houston’s rugby team at Christ the King Catholic School in Dallas to play the Bishop’s Cup on January 26th. The Rangers had a dominant performance, winning 75-0 with the help of an impressive showing from Jesuit’s backline and solid defense. This match holds great significance and tradition, having been played for decades and was a great win for the Rangers to keep the Cup.
Finally, Jesuit played Lake Travis at home in their first conference match of the season and lost 19-22 in a close competition that came down to the wire. Jesuit came back from a deficit in the second half to score in the final seconds of the match and bring them within 3 points of Lake Travis, but it wasn’t enough to win the match. The Jesuit team was simply outmatched by Lake Travis’ aggression and couldn’t muster enough offense pressure to pull off a win.
I was able to talk to the head coach of the Jesuit rugby team, Coach Upton, about these performances and what else the season holds for the Jesuit rugby team:
Q: How has the Rugby team performed this season?
A: “We had a bit of a setback against Lake Travis, but I think the boys will learn from it, and I think they have seen in the first two games that their expectations should be higher than they thought coming into the season. They had a bit of a setback in the last game understanding that it still takes teamwork [to win] and teams aren’t just going to roll over.
Q: What is the team looking to improve upon for the rest of the season?
A: “We’re looking to improve on our intensity and teamwork on the field, and understanding that teams that are less skilled than us we probably have to attack in different ways.”
So far, the season is shaping up to be an exciting one for the Jesuit Rugby team. Stay tuned to The Roundup for more updates on their season. Go Rangers!