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Large club on campus plays rough at rugby

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Timothy Galaz and Timothy Galaz | The Daily Wildcat Timothy Galaz / Arizona Daily Wildcat Jason Fass, 20, junior, drives with the ball during the Arizona Rugby Football team practice at Rincon Field on October 20th 2009.

Rugby is in the spotlight as a new addition to the summer 2016 Olympics.  


""Players must be intelligent and ferocious,"" said Dave Sitton, head coach of the UA club rugby team. Sitton has been a part of the team for 35 years, with experience as both a player and a coach.

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Sitton originally got recruited to play baseball, but had a shoulder injury. After crucial operations, he got involved with rugby in England, and once he came back to the U.S. was able to play for 20 years, he said.


""There is an interesting history to the game,"" he said. ""Being founded in England, there are unique traditions attached to it.""


The rugby club has 70 newcomers this year, as well as 45 returning players, making it one of the largest clubs on campus, he said.


The object of the game is for each side to attempt to ground the ball beyond their opponent's goal line and score the greater number of points within two 40-minute periods of play.


The game is played with 15 players per side and lasts 80 minutes.


Tim Moxness, a political science senior and team captain, is in charge of fitness for the team.


There are several officers, he explained, but he chose to be in charge of fitness because he has been doing his own fitness programs for the past few years and hopes to become a personal trainer after he graduates.


""This is how I take the game to the next level,"" he said.


He has played rugby for six years, starting in high school.


Moxness said even when there is not a game, the team lifts weights for an hour a day in addition to six hours of conditioning and 11 hours of practice each week.


The majority of students who have expressed an interest in rugby have played football, he said. They find the same sense of team camaraderie in both sports.


He added that in rugby, a play does not stop unless there is a penalty, making it like a ""never-ending football play.""


""There is an instant bond — the fact that every player makes a tackle, carries the ball — you're never isolated,"" he said.


Jason Fass, an economics junior who plays on the junior varsity team, said that he played rugby all four years of high school.


He said that people in England and Australia have been playing the sport since the age of 8 or 10, but in the U.S. people don't usually start playing that young, putting Americans at a disadvantage.


""The game is unique in the sense that anyone can play it — there is a position for anyone, any body size,"" Fass said, ""and you definitely have to have a certain mindset to be able to run into people and run for 80 minutes.""



BOX: Practice schedule for varsity, junior varsity, rookie and freshman teams

WHERE: Rincon Vista Field (Tucson Boulevard and 15th Street)

WHEN: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4-6 p.m.

 


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