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The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

Structure facilitates success in rugby

Women’s club rugby team has the ability to compete, but the competition lacks commitment
Photo of the Women’s Club Rugby team courtesy of Emma Murphy.

The Christopher Newport University Women’s Rugby team scheduled a pivotal home match for Saturday March 30, 2024. However, less than 72 hours prior to kick off their opponents, John Hopkins University, told the team they would not be in attendance. This in turn caused the match to be canceled as it would no longer qualify as a conference tournament.

Approaching its fourth year at CNU, the Women’s Rugby team has been under constant development since its establishment in 2021. The team recruited a large number of committed players, achieving big wins and undefeated seasons. To provide structure to their growth and success, the team joined the Mid-Atlantic Women’s Rugby Conference (MARC).

The MARC’s role in collegiate rugby is to facilitate tournaments that will help teams qualify for a bid to the National Collegiate Rugby Tournament held every season.

“CNU joined a conference to secure a set competition schedule and post-season opportunities while also addressing liability concerns as rugby is a high contact sport,” said Coach Andrew Higgs.

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“Structure and rivalries with regular opponents are great way to motivate players to continue to come out to practice and desire chances to play and win,” said Higgs.

Rugby is growing in the United States and university club teams play a pivotal role in that success.

“I value the opportunity that rugby as a club sport has to offer. It has the unique ability to attract players with no prior experience. Which is special to me because that is how I started out,” said Higgs.

This team has had success, but not without past and ongoing challenges.

“There is a challenge in finding success when other schools don’t have the same mentality. There is a limited pool of opponents due to travel and interests. There are also contributing factors of injuries and player availability.” says Higgs.

Higgs and his teams have done very well for themselves as a new club, but he also expressed his concern about the level of competition, making it difficult for the CNU Women’s team to prepare for stronger opponents.

The team plays this Saturday at St. Mary’s College and then they head to Culpepper in hopes of securing a bid to nationals.

***Disclaimer the writer of this article played on the Women’s Rugby team from Fall 2021- Fall 2023**

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