Aundre Dean’s Fish Out of Water: College Rugby


    This is the first segment in a series of articles where TCU Sports Now's Aundre Dean will try his hand at different sports around campus. In this installment, Dean learns the finer aspects of rugby:

    Tuesday, I had a fish out of water experience with the TCU rugby team as I got a chance to play and learn the sport with them.

    The game has an oval ball, big dudes and a physical attitude, but after a two-hour practice, I can honestly say it’s a lot different from American football.

    Besides the obvious – no shoulder pads and no helmets – all passes must be made laterally, allowing no forward passing in the game at all.

    The objective is still to score like American football, but they call it a try. Somewhat equivalent to a touchdown, a try is worth five points. In order to get the points, the ball must actually touch the ground in the try zone.

    “Its funny because the word touchdown actually comes from rugby," said Joe Kizer, team captain of the TCU rugby team. "After breaking the plane into the try zone, it only counts if the person who scores touches the ball down on the ground.”

    In addition to the rules, the boys also taught me some lingo and formations in the game, such as scrum, ruck, and line out.

    A scrum occurs when the ball is put back into play after an infraction. Each team locks together trying to position the scrum so that the hooker, the player in the middle of the huddle, can kick or "hook" the ball back to a teammate behind him to gain possession.

    A ruck usually happens after a player has been tackled and releases the ball. The formation is formed when any combination of three players from both teams muddled together over the ball carrier to try and gain possession.

    A line out, my personal favorite, is formed when the ball is getting put back into play. Two players on each team lift up a teammate to catch or otherwise get the ball to their teammates on the in bound pass.

    Let me tell you, I may have been scared getting lifted into the air. All right, it was actually a good scare for a big guy like me to get hoisted up into the air, but I felt like I eventually got the hang of it.

    Even though the guys said that I may not have made the team, I definitely know what it would take to do so now. Rugby is a game of physicality, brute strength, and originality.

    After dealing with an evening with me, the TCU rugby team will travel to Denton on April 6 for a match against North Texas.