Rugby program looking to future

With a shot at the Pacific Coast Championships on the line, the Rugby team faced Idaho State on Saturday.

Last season the team lost in the Pacific Coast Championships to Humboldt State University. But expectations are higher this year than they’ve ever been for men’s rugby at the school.

"We are much better this year than we were last year," rugby coach Gary Brown said.

Before Brown arrived, the team was lacking any structure – something he brought in spades, providing the team with just what it needed to do much better.

"It used to be just player coaching, but now we are going nowhere but up," Bill Ungricht, a member of the team, said.

Last year, Brown led the team to the playoffs and a win over Division I team Colorado State.

"The new coaches have elevated this program to a new level," Ungricht said.

Brown added, "We have the player resources to make a really great program."

Getting all of the players to come is not exactly an easy thing to do.

With the lack of scholarships offered, it is tough to get some of the students to keep playing. It is certainly a challenge going to school full-time, working, and playing rugby.

Like all club sports, more financial backing to the team would undoubtedly help.

"Finances basically come out of our own pockets," Ulgricht mentioned.

One of the long-term goals of the program is to be able to start offering scholarships to students, or to at least produce enough funds to help ease the financial burdens for some of the players.

And there seems to be something else the rugby team, like many of UVSC’s teams, lacks: fan support.

"We need some fan support. It is the school’s contact sport," Ulgricht said.

The rugby team concludes their regular season playing BYU March 14 at BYU’s Helaman Field, and then playing against Utah University March 22 at home.

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