No need for ruck

Local rugby team wins state title


Ranger Rugby Twitter

The Ranger Rugby Team won all of their total 11 games. The team is led by coach Josh Bottjer along with captain Jack Barry and vice-captain James Dearduff.

Emma Siebold, Staff Writer

Rugby is an aggressive sport entailing a compromise between football and soccer. It is played widely throughout Oceania, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Canada.

Oh, and Smithson Valley.

The Ranger Rugby team is a local rugby organization coached by Josh Bottjer, who won a national championship for rugby in college. This year was the first for the team to hit the pitch, and they played in three different tournaments that led them to becoming the 2020 Division III state champions.

In rugby, players try to move the ball up the field by passing it backwards or diagonally (not forward) or by kicking or running with the ball to get to the opposing goal line. There are also field goals (like in football) where drop kicks and penalty kicks can be scored by kicking the ball between the goalposts and over the crossbar.

The team’s captain, senior Jack Barry, was thrilled to take the state title.

“Playing on this team was one of the most rewarding feelings,” Barry said.

The team won all of their 11 games, and had only seven points scored against them for the entirety of the season.

Unfortunately, along with many other spring sports, the rugby season was hindered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Loved the game, and [I’m] sad our season got cut short,” Barry said. “But all I can say is rugby’s for the boys.”

The team had a very successful debut, but in order to continue prospering, Coach Bottjer needs more players to join. The roster consists of many seniors, and their absence will leave many spots to be filled.

Though rugby is not a customary American sport, the Ranger Rugby team made their mark in their first year of gameplay by, quite literally, tackling the competition. The team has proved that untraditional does not always correlate to unpopular.