Rugby, 3rd practice
Today I wanted to give you a look at what rugby practice is like at Mizzou. It’s easy for me to try and describe the drills and the running, but if you’ve never seen rugby before, then you may not have any idea what it truly looks like.
This video is a taste of practice leading up to Ruggerfest and the last home date against Truman State, which will be played on April 17, 2010. Coach Eric Wright was not entirely pleased with his team’s performance in the practices leading up to these two important events, and to be sure, practice wasn’t without its goofy moments or down time, but the overall atmosphere was positive.
One thing I have noticed in practice and at Ruggerfest was the power Mizzou demonstrates in their scrums. A scrum is when the forwards of both teams link arms in three rows and engage each other for possession of the ball. This typically happens after an infringement or contested ball. The scrumhalf for the team with the advantage, or the team that was the recipient of the infraction, tosses the ball in, angling it back toward his side of the scrum. The players then shove each other, trying to simultaneously drive the scrum forward while attempting to kick the ball backward. Once the ball as reached the back of the scrum, the 8 man, or the player in the back, picks it up and either runs it forward or swings it out wide.
I bring up the scrum because Mizzou appears to be very good at it. The sled the team was practicing on was loaded with 6 players, and at Ruggerfest they won every scrum in which they put the ball in. While this might appear visually because the props on either side of the front row are big, burly men (and certainly, they play a part), the real power of the scrum lies in the leg strength of the second row.
Another facet of the Mizzou rugby team, and the game in general, is how fit the individual players are. The “beep test” in the video takes place before the actual conditioning at the end of practice. These players have to have incredible endurance to be able to play a full match of rugby, which is 40 minutes without overtime.
With only 2 practices remaining before the end of the season will be walkthroughs so no one risks injury and so the players can be technically sound for their final game.