Brianna Campbell / The Collegian
Inexperience played a big factor when the Fresno State Rugby Club team faced the San Jose State Spartans last Saturday at the Fresno Regional Sports Park.
â€œFor a bunch of players thatâ€™ve never played rugby before, these guys did a pretty good job,â€ coach Mike Marquez said. â€œItâ€™s still Rugby 101 for them until we start moving forward.â€
The Spartans held an advantage over the rookie Fresno State players winning both games of the match, 49-5 in game A and 22-12 in game B.
For most of the Fresno State players, that was the first time they played in an actual rugby match.
â€œWe knew we were coming in as the new guy,â€ coach Barry Foley said. â€œSeventy-five percent of our guys have never played a game [of rugby] and San Jose is a strong team.â€
Five of the players have already played rugby for other teams. But last weekend was their first game for the Fresno State team. One of those players with some experience is the president of the club, Jordan Brenner, who played rugby for the city of Fresno last season.
Brenner said for its first game, the teamâ€™s chemistry is good, but the players still have a lot to improve on.
â€œObviously, we have guys who have never played rugby before, which was frustrating at times, but they did their best and Iâ€™m proud of each and every one of them,â€ Brenner said.
Marquez agreed and said the teamâ€™s positive attitude kept the game exciting despite the Spartansâ€™ huge lead.
â€œYou canâ€™t coach enthusiasm and attitude. They have a great attitude and their enthusiasm is unbelievable,â€ Marquez said. â€œTheyâ€™re hungry. They played so hard and so aggressive and even though we lost, they never quit.â€
The fast-paced transitions of the plays provided the biggest challenge for the players.
Although it is similar to football, rugby does not have any stops, like a first down, Foley said. Itâ€™s a continuous game filled with lateral passes and hard tackles.
Sophomore Jerry Kelly has played football since he was a young kid, but recently he joined the team to stay active. As a scrum-half, he described his position as the quarterback of rugby since his position plays a key role in gaining possession of the ball after a scrum.
Although he does enjoy the sport, Kelly said he still hasnâ€™t completely adjusted to the fast-paced tempo.
â€œIts something like football, but itâ€™s different because we donâ€™t get that many breaks,â€ Kelly said. â€œWeâ€™re constantly running and it gets tiring but hey, we got to get in condition.â€
The rugby club team is now looking forward to the upcoming tournament that will take place at University of California, Santa Cruz on Oct. 24, where theyâ€™re hoping to gain more experience before their league play starts in January.