Men's Rugby Team

Courtesy of Rochester Men’s Rugby Team

The UR men’s rugby team, better known as “the Uglies,” made a ruckus on campus in its first year as a Division II club sport. In the fall of 2012, men’s rugby not only won the state championship, but they were ranked twelfth in the nation and graduated from Division III to Division II.
As a fall sport, rugby practices five times a week as part of its training regimen in the beginning of the school year, working just as hard as your average varsity team.
“This is a big commitment” senior David Toomey said. “If you aren’t dedicated, you could get hurt.”
The players’ enthusiasm for the sport and the team has proved itself worthwhile ­— the Uglies have become a force to be reckoned with at major tournaments in New York.
The Uglies kicked off its spring season on Saturday, Feb. 9 with the annual Winterfest Sevens tournament, a tournament hosted by the Buffalo Rugby Club in February as a casual event to bring rugby teams together for more laidback games.
As one of the biggest and certainly snowiest rugby tournaments around, it surprisingly brings teams from all over. Along with the UR team, St. John Fisher, SUNY Fredonia, The Rochester men’s Colonials, and two Canadian teams were in attendance.
Winterfest is different from the usual rugby match not only because of the laid back atmosphere and the presence of both collegiate and adult club teams, but the games themselves consist of seven-minute halves with only seven players versus the usual 40-minute halves with 15 players. Not to mention that there’s a foot of snow on the ground. This year, UR men’s rugby won the bowl title and secured its place as an up-and-coming threat in its division.
The move from Division III to Division II has been challenging for the players, not only because of the skill level of their new competitors, but because they are generally a smaller and more academic oriented squad than their rivals. Some of  the Uglies’ opponents include St. John Fisher, SUNY Fredonia, and Niagara University. Despite the big adjustment, Toomey hopes to improve upon the team’s success this spring with the help of some new leadership.
The team recently hired a new co-coach, Dan Williams, who has a background in the professional and Division I rugby levels and has proved he is good at building programs. Additionally, president Nick Mastrosimone and captain Will Retz have done “an excellent job of leading the team to achieve a better standing,” Toomey said.
With new leadership from the coaching staff and players, UR men’s rugby looks to become a dominant power in Division II. The team is looking ahead to its upcoming away game against Cornell University and its home game against RIT.

   Kilbridge is a member of the class of 2015.

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