Rugby Off To Yale For Northeast Playoff Appearance

Juliana Garofalo

Many people on the Colgate campus are quick to write off the men’s rugby team as just another club team. But this assumption could not be a greater misconception. The Colgate Rugby Football Club is a highly competitive Division II team that just took second place in all of New York State and has made it to the Northeast Rugby Union Elite Eight for the first time. The Colgate RFC was first established in 1967, which at 37 years old makes it the oldest club sport in Colgate’s history. The team has been growing in size and popularity, especially over the past four years. There are 50 active members on the current team, a drastic increase from the mere 17 men that made the roster in 2001. Head coach Tim Burdick feels that the growth of the team should be attributed to this year’s senior class. Many of these men played rugby in high school, and senior captain Sean Meehan took his career one step further when he played for the Wellington Old Boys during his semester abroad in New Zealand. Many players come from a variety of athletic backgrounds, which include track and field, swimming, soccer, hockey, football, lacrosse, wrestling and cross country. “We’re proud to be the most diverse club on campus,” Burdick said. Last year, the team competed against and was victorious over Syracuse, Buffalo, Clarkson, Binghamton, Vassar College and Cortland State. The men also traveled abroad to Ireland for spring break for Colgate’s first-ever rugby tour as Colgate’s first team to compete on Irish ground. The men competed against local teams and proved that their strength was resonant internationally after a win over the University of Limerick. This spring the team will undergo a tour of England and Wales. The men’s 2004 regular season has ended and the team came out with a 6-3 record. Last weekend the team played in the New York State Championship against St. Bonaventure in Datavia, NY. Unfortunately, Colgate was defeated, 16-3, but that loss did not deter the men from participation in this weekend’s Northeast Regional Playoffs. The loss, however, prevented the first game of the playoffs to be played at home in Hamilton. On Saturday, the Colgate RFC will kickoff against Yale University in New Haven, CT in a quarter final game. This is the first time in Colgate history that the team has advanced this far. “We are dedicated to chasing excellence,” Burdick said. “Our motto is 100 percent fun and 100 percent serious.”