This Saturday, Ole Miss Rugby will play in the 2016 Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Conference Olympic Rugby Championship in Columbia, South Carolina.
Eight teams including Ole Miss, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi State, Tennesse and Auburn have made it to this championship because of the winning results of two qualifying tournaments, one of which was held in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on April 2 and the other in Knoxville, Tennessee on April 9.
This is a Rugby Seven’s Event where each team will take the field with seven players. An additional five players will be available as reserves. Rugby Seven’s was started 10 years ago and is held in the spring. Team captain and a junior at Ole Miss, Maxwell Dodds, said this is a big opportunity to show case Ole Miss Rugby.
“The SCRC championship for rugby is huge for us, especially now that it is a Olympic sport in Seven’s, and the game plan for that is to have our fitness up to scratch because that is what the sport is all about and our ball work,” Dodds said.
For the 45 years rugby has been on this campus, this is the first time the team has made it this far in the spring season.
“The best Ole Miss Rugby has done in the SCRC is third place and to win this whole thing, we will get to go to nationals in Philadelphia,” Dodds said.
Freshman flanker Parker Wilson said the team has put in a lot of work in and off the practice field.
“It took a lot of practice time and a lot of in the field and a lot of time in the gym and a lot of time and effort as well,” Wilson said. “Rugby is a very serious sport and injuries will come. It’s about manning up and taking a hit.”
Senior flanker Jake Jaffe is confident the team will show up and be ready to play.
“We might not be the biggest team but we will be the best team. We are going to be fast and outrun every one and make sure our mentality is there,” Jaffe said. “We got to have that true Rebel mentality.”
If the Rebels win the championship this Saturday, they will go to nationals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 12 and it will be broadcasted by NBC.
The Rebels will start playing at 10 a.m. at the University of South Carolina this Saturday April 16.
Nico Dantzler is a senior broadcast journalism major at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.