Rugby wins first Dixie conference title, playoffs to begin March 19

NO. 1 – Blake Holder tackles a runner from the Lee University rugby team on Saturday, Feb. 20.

Tennessee Tech’s Rugby team claimed its first Dixie Conference title after defeating its No. 1 rival, Lee University, Saturday, Feb. 20.

Tech Rugby walked away from Lee’s home field with a victory of 46-12 to claim the title. Out of five teams in the conference, Tech came out on top after losing to Lee by eight points last season.

According to senior player and president of the team, Blake Holder, having a game plan going into the match against Lee was a major advantage. The team scored 19 points within the first 20 minutes.

“Definitely, overall as a team, we’ve gotten closer together on the field and off the field,” said Holder.

Hard work and talent from new players were among the reasons Holder claims the team was able to take the victory this season.

After returning from an injury in one of the first games of the semester, team captain David Simms claimed Lee is usually one of the more dominant teams in the conference.

“Honestly, the difference in this game and why we were able to pull away was, one: we knew what was on the line to be able to bring home the conference title for the first time in Tech’s history,” said Simms. “Two: the way the team pulled together.”

According to Simms, this is one of the first semesters the new players and veteran players on the team were equal in talent. Simms emphasized the value of Tech’s rugby program as a family and not just a club.

“We need to make sure that we reach out and let people know that they are not just playing a sport, but they are getting into a family,” Simms said.

Tech Rugby will be competing in the first round of playoffs March 19 and 20 against Valdosta State.