Spring Hill’s Rugby team defeated the University of Alabama on March 6th with a score of 45-19. Not only did the hard work of the Spring Hill men's rugby team lead them to victory, but the support of the fans kept the team motivated. Covid-19 pushed the Rugby team’s season back until the spring semester, so the team was excited to play their first game of the season.
The men on the rugby team put in a lot of effort to make this season happen. President of the rugby team, Brandon Barreiro, explains “We call the match secretary of other schools and see what dates they are available to have a game. If they have one open, we schedule it then and each school follows their own Covid-19 protocols. We get tested before and after every game in order to play.” The team has scheduled two more home games for March 20th and 27th and might travel to New Orleans for a tournament on April 10th. After qualifying for the NSCRO championship last year, the men were disappointed the fall 2020 season was cancelled. This setback did not stop the rugby team from doing what they love.
The University of Alabama’s rugby team has been known to be tough competition for the Badgers. In the past, Spring Hill’s team has crushed many teams by 40+ points, so the crowd was anxious to see the outcome of Saturday’s game. During the first half of the game, John Putnam, Mikey Reilly and Danny Conners scored for Spring Hill. Senior John Putnam began his rugby career this spring after his senior soccer season was cancelled. He was overjoyed when he said, “Since I am new to the team and new to the sport, I felt like I was finally making a big impact in the game. It was the first try in the game which really helped to swing the game’s momentum in our favor. It made me feel like I was officially a rugby player.”
The players became noticeably tired, but Brandon Barreiro scored three times and Ben Kazayoux scored once during the second half. After the last play, several men from both teams fell to the ground from exhaustion.
Unlike the other sports teams at Spring Hill, the rugby team is not part of the NCAA but is considered a club team. As a club, the rugby team has its own Covid-19 protocols that differ from the NCAA regulations and are able to have fans attend games. Many teams will agree that a fan section keeps the player motivated throughout a game, and the Covid-19 protocols allow SHC rugby to have fans socially distanced at their games.
The support from the crowd does not go unrecognized. Senior Rob Vought states: “We’ve always been very lucky to have such a strong presence from our student body at our games. Seeing them having fun and cheering us on up close and personal is very motivating to us, and we always stick around and socialize with them afterward.” Spring Hill is known for its tightly knit community, and the rugby team is lucky to have fans attend the games and support them to a victory.