Rugby busts into playoffs

The Tennessee Tech rugby team is headed to the Dixie Conference Playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the east. The game begins at noon Feb. 28 at MTSU’s rugby field.

Tech defeated Covenant College 76-8 on Feb. 14 advancing Tech to the playoffs. Coach Michael Sliger works at the University as an admissions clerk during the day and spends his nights leading the rugby team.

“The guys were well disciplined on defense,” said Sliger. “They hit holes on offense and made great decisions throughout the entire match.”

Blake Holder, a junior secondary education major and president of the team, said what made them work together was, “We had to overcome an obstacle of scoring four tries.” A “try” is worth five points in rugby. Other points gained during a game include conversions, worth two points, and penalty or drop kicks in play that are worth three points.

A fan base was also present at the game, which they would like to see this weekend. Sliger said, “Our fan attendance has grown significantly over the past few years, and I strongly believe that having more fans is a contributor to our team’s success.”

Within the game’s 80 minutes of play, a couple of the members had a lot to say.

“We controlled the game start to finish and got better as a team,” said Noah Stansfield, junior civil engineering student. “We were able to play everyone on our roster.”

He explained there was camaraderie on the team, both on and off the field. He said it’s because of the many seasons they have spent together, the times they discuss strategy, “and most importantly eating Sakura after practice.”

“We know instinctively what our teammates are going to do,” Stansfield said.

Miguel Lastres, senior electrical engineering major and team captain, said it’s the  “greatest sport ever thanks to the manner and respect with which it is played.” Lastres is a native of South Africa, whose national rugby team is currently ranked No. 2 in the world, according to the World Rugby Organization.

Junior nursing major David Simms added, “We’re all brothers.”

“We are just one big family,” said Adam Roberts, a freshman mechanical engineering major.

 “Please come support your TTU ruggers,” Sliger said in regards to their game tomorrow.