UAF women and men win on the pitch
Rebecca Coleman / Sun Star Reporter
May 3, 2011
UAF’s men’s and women’s rugby teams played their first games of the season against teams from Anchorage on Saturday, April 30. They played on the field across the street from the SRC. It was a perfect day for rugby: the sun was shining, there was a slight breeze and the sound of bagpipes filled the air. Bagpipes are a signature feature of rugby games because rugby originated in the United Kingdom.
The women opened the day against the Anchorage team, playing a 10-on-10 game. UAF scored the first try (similar to a touchdown in American football) after a great run along the outer right side of the pitch. The next two trys were scored by senior Kayla Chardon. One of which was on a play that Chardon said “worked perfectly,” and the other was scored while she was being tackled, so she was most concerned with it counting. The last try scored by UAF was during a maul at the end of the game. A maul is when a group of players from each team essentially shoves the person with the ball towards the goal line. In this case, senior Jenna Weisz scored.
“It was great,” Chardon said. “We worked together as a team and got business done. It was pretty sweet.”
UAF shut out their opponents 20-0. (Each try is worth five points.)
“I’m so proud of them,” said UAF captain Rachel Schwanke. “For a lot of them, it was their first game ever, and they did phenomenal.”
Sophomore Clint McElfresh, a member of UAF’s men’s rugby team, was very supportive of the women’s teams. “Both the Fairbanks and Anchorage women’s teams played fantastic,” he said. “They go hard just as much as the guys do.” Since the men and women took turns on the pitch, he was on the sidelines cheering for their games.
The men took to the pitch next, but their opponents from Anchorage didn’t bring enough players, so UAF had to share some. Before the men kicked off game two of the afternoon, the six-member, kilt-clad bagpipe group led the teams onto the pitch with ceremonial music.
The 15-member men’s teams were named Guinness and Ivory Jacks; fitting names for a sport that is known for its enjoyment of alcohol. Ivory Jacks was the team made up of UAF people, and Guinness was the mix team of Anchorage and Fairbanks.
Ivory Jacks beat Guinness 7-5 (you can get two extra points for a conversion after a try).
“Both teams did really well,” McElfresh said. “It was the first game of the season, so it was more of a fun game between the Fairbanks and Anchorage guys.”
McElfresh said that the camaraderie between rugby players is his favorite part of the sport. “I like the respect we have for each other afterword,” he said. “We’re just a bunch of guys who play rugby and have a great time doing it.”