Rookies at the heart of Sonoma State rugby

The men’s rugby team rose from the ashes of a graduating senior class to show Sonoma State that perseverance is key to any sport.

Founded in the spring of 2011, the Seawolf rugby players have continued to grow and develop, cultivating a love for the game and all of the back-breaking mental and physical challenges that accompany the sport. Unfortunately, it seems that time has not been in the favor of the Seawolves this year. After losing five essential senior players and five more to transfers, this season has put the Seawolves’ rookie unit in the spotlight.

“This year was a rebuilding season for the team,” said Colin Laffey, “but things are looking up for a great season next year, as this year’s rookies stepped up and learned the game quickly to become a threat on the field.”

Despite combating the challenges of a young organization, the Seawolves finish their season 3-3 in conference to take fourth in PacWest, barely missing out on qualifying for the playoffs.

“Just like any team we do put a lot of effort into practicing and working around everyone’s schedules,” said Tre Jones. “We have a really young team with most of our guys playing in their first games this fall.”

To add to their unlikely merit, team members Lucas Gonzales and Laffey were selected to the NorCal Conference Rep Side, both starting as All-Stars against the tough Cal Bears.

“It was a great time to play alongside Lucas, and to see all the talent from the league come together after battling all year,” said Laffey.

Overcoming the obstacles they faced this season, the group has become more than just a team—they consider themselves a family. With an incredibly talented team receiving support from some of the best coaches in the league, it’s no wonder the Seawolves were able to conquer this season’s challenges without falter. 

“I’ve been playing for three years and it has been the best team I have played on,” said Jones. “They have truly been like a second family to me.”  

What many at Sonoma State don’t know, however, is that they too can join the close-knit group of athletes on their uphill journey.

“If anyone is interested, please come out to a practice and see what it’s like,” said Jones, inviting any student, with or without experience to join the family.

“We don’t have cuts and welcome anyone to come out and explore a new sport that is played everywhere in the world, which shoes how fun and competitive it is,” said Laffey.