SSU Rugby Club will travel to North Carolina in hopes of taking home a National Championship. Last year the club’s successful season led them to Colorado, competing in a men’s sevens qualifier against clubs throughout the west coast region. In the championship game they just barely fell short.However they are hoping for a turn of events this year in North Carolina.
The Rugby Club was founded only three years ago; however, in this short time they have made accomplishments as if they have been present on campus for years longer.
President Jack McNanara explained that the team’s success wouldn’t be possible without the guidance and support given by their coach Anasa Koroitamana.
“Coach Nas has been responsible for the progression of our team as a whole,” said McNanara. “From guys learning the game better, to the organization of the club, all the credit goes to Coach Nas.”
Not only has Koroitamana played the game his entire life, but he played for the professional rugby team in Fiji. His knowledge and passion for the game is easily seen through SSU’s team, setting them apart from the others.
After making an impact in Colorado, the club’s mentality began to shift.
“It showed the players on the team what level we could play at for Nationals and showed them what it takes to possibly win a National Championship,” said McNanara.
Coming from a smaller school than most of their competitors in Colorado, the team’s strengths were spotlighted and recognized throughout their games. “We have good size in our players,” said player Mark Gunson. “We also have playmakers on the team which is completely key and essential.”
Throughout the games played in Colorado they were also able to target the areas in which they needed to advance for the future.
“We have increased our conditioning a large amount since then, and worked to improve our defense,” said Gunson. They are hoping to witness the result of these developments in North Carolina.
Competing nationally will hold trials for the team.
“Seeing teams that we haven’t seen before, teams coming from across the nation is challenging because we don’t know what to expect,” said Gunson. “We just have to have high expectations, and go out there and play Noma Rugby.” The team is prepared for these challenges, and knows they must enter every game with the mentality to win.
Traveling and competing at a National level has also brought the team closer.
“We have the most fun as a team when we have experiences like Colorado or North Carolina,” said player Jake Kuluris. “We become a close knit group and our communication on the field speaks for this.” Working as a team is yet just another lead the team has over many others.
Through the variety of different accomplishments the SSU Rugby Club has acquired, they have brought pride to SSU. Traveling to North Carolina with the mentality to win is what the team is looking to accomplish. SSU will be waiting for the return of the Rugby Club in hopes that they return as the National Champions.