Men’s rugby enters 2019 on a mission

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Men’s rugby enters 2019 on a mission

Dez Rodriguez, Senior Reporter

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The CWU Men’s Rugby team finished with a 17-8 record last season, good enough for the number 15 seed in the D1A Rugby playoffs. There, they fell to the number two seed, and eventual champions, Life University in the opening round.

Now trying to build up from where they left off, the team is returning only four seniors and 30 underclassmen. CWU Men’s Rugby head coach Todd Thornley is ready to take on a new challenge with the young guys.

“It takes time to mature as an athlete and to mature as a complete player,” Thornley said. “I think they are kind of ahead of the curve because of the experience they are getting right now in terms of the high-level rugby that they’re playing against.”

The team opened up the season by defeating UC Davis convincingly, before losing to Saint Mary’s on the road. Despite the mixed results, Thornley took note of what he believes is going to stay consistent throughout the season: the team’s physicality.

“Even for how young we are, we’re going to be very physical,” Thornley said. “It’s definitely a glass half full situation because the problems that we had are easily fixable, it’s just going to take time.”

So how do you develop the talent in a short amount of time? Thornley said it starts with the three main core skills in rugby; the ability to catch passes, the ability to tackle and the ability to retain position, aspects CWU senior wing Cole Zarcone stressed need to be fixed following the recent loss.

“We just have to focus on the little things,” Zarcone said. “We’ve got our scrum pieces, our set pieces, our basic structure on attack and defense. We’ve learned a lot from that game losing like that so we’ll be able to take a lot away.”

The team is gearing up to take on Cal Poly University in California on January 19 before returning home to face Washington State on Feb 2. It will be the first game the men play at the newly renovated Tomlinson Stadium.

“We have to respond now and hopefully we can make the changes we need to be successful moving on,” Zarcone said.


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