Wildcats start 15s

Samuel Beaumonte, Staff Reporter

Jan. 23 marks the start of men’s rugby 15s season, which is a different style of play than the 7s action that took place in the fall.

“We normally play both kinds of games, I think we’re pretty good at both—at least we try to be,” head coach Tony Pacheco said. “Our focus in the fall was getting ready for 15s. We put the most time into practicing for 15s since we’ve already qualified for the USA Rugby 7s national championships in May.”

The team switches off from the 7s to 15s season regularly. The main change is the number of players on the field, seven and 15 respectively. Games also last roughly twice as long in the 15s season.

“I feel that the jump is definitely a difficult transition,” junior flanker Maverick Schirmer said. “It takes me a while to get used to everything when we switch seasons, it’s like taking a few steps back when you’re switching into a new season.”

With the change of the season going to 15s, the team prepares by recruiting more players and ensuring that everyone can work together.

“I’m really excited for the 15 season,” Pacheco said. “We have a big and physical team this year that have a pretty high rugby IQ.”

The team first started practicing together for 15s in the fall, working on the seasonal transition and the new organization of teamwork.

“We had a good handful of 15 practices in the fall to draw on and create chemistry with each other,” junior fullback Ian Wright said. “We’re comfortable and everyone has a good sense of what each other can do.”

The position of fullback is unique to the 15s season since a team of 7s doesn’t have enough players to fill in the position, which leaves the wings to take on the duties of a fullback.

Changes in positions are common for rugby players who play for both seasons, giving those players an opportunity to change their role on the team.

Schirmer finds the transition from 7s to 15s to be easier, even though he switches from center to prop.

With the 7s season resulting in a Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference championship, a spot in the U.S. College Rugby 7s National Championship Tournament and the milestone of being the first American school to win the Viking Cup, the team is looking forward to what they can accomplish in their 15s season.

“It’s going to be an interesting and exciting year, we want to win the varsity cup. That’s what our regular season is for: preparing for the varsity cup,” Pacheco said.