Men’s rugby looks to smash the 2023 season


Photo courtesy of CWU

Tre'Jon Henderson, Staff Reporter

CWU’s men’s rugby team looks to continue their win streak versus Saint Mary’s in this upcoming Saturday. Feb. 18 showdown. The Wildcats will be attempting to extend their win streak to five.

Thornley has held the title of head coach since 2016 and has produced over 20 All-American athletes, five of whom went on to play at the professional level ranks of Major League Rugby. 

Sophomore 8 man Arona Tauiliili admires Thornely’s tenacity and skill as a coach.  

“Our coach is a dog,” Tauiliili said. “The way he just plans out practice is so strategic; it is just beautiful to be a part of.” 

Thornley attributes the team’s hot start to the caliber of players in the group. 

“This is a talented group of men we have this year,” Thornley said. “It has been a great start to the year but as cliché as it sounds, we just want to take it one game at a time.’’ 

The men’s team is already off to a significant start, winning their first four games of the season, including wins over teams including Western Washington University (WWU) and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). 

“Being one of the only D1 programs here at Central is cool,” Tauiliili said. “The team takes a lot of pride in it. We play with a huge chip on our shoulder because some teams like to think we are below them.”

The team is gearing up to play Saint Mary’s in California on Feb. 18. The Wildcats are looking to end their losing streak against the opposing team, as last year they lost 30-27.

 “Another week on the road and the challenge does not get much bigger than this,” Thornley said. “We have the utmost respect for Gael Rugby, their coaching staff and the powerhouse they have been in collegiate rugby for the past decade.’’