Rugby falls to Broncos

By James Cantagallo

With a young team that is still trying to come together, men’s rugby fell 49-7 to the Western Michigan Broncos (1-1).

This season, the lack of returning starters has caused a problem for the Huskies (0-2). With only four starters returning, there has been a lack of team chemistry, which is necessary for success.

“It’s going to take time getting used to playing with the guys next to you. We have a lot of new guys that the veterans aren’t used to playing with,” said backline captain Joseph Swon. “There has to be a lot of talking on the field to know where everyone should be.”

Along with the lack of chemistry, missed tackles were another problem for NIU.

“Tackles killed us,” Swon said. “This week we missed a lot of tackles. That caused us to lose the game. We need to work on one-on-one tackling so people know exactly how to tackle and where they should be going into a tackle.

Team captain Osama Shayeb also felt tackling was a problem for the Huskies.

“We had a lot of arm tackling, no real ambition to bring the guys down,” Shayeb said. “They were a lot more physical than us and we weren’t ready to compete with them.”

Even though the score was lopsided, there were some positives the young NIU squad could take away from the game.

“The score didn’t really reflect how hard our players were fighting,” said rugby President Pat Caulfield. “Every time they scored we came back and fought. We kept the speed of the game going, we corrected the big issue of a lot of dropped passes. We corrected that tremendously. It’s just small things that need to be worked out and very soon I’m hoping everything is going to come together and that we will play a full 80-minute game.”

Shayeb also saw improvements from last week.

“We fixed the knock-ons situation, we had less dropped balls and the fitness looked a little better,” Shayeb said.

The Huskies have a bye week, but they will be scrimmaging against the Chicago Lions Football Club B squad in Chicago. Before its scrimmage, the team will watch the Chicago Lions A squad, one of the best men’s clubs in the Midwest, play against Metropolis. The team is hoping to learn and gain more experience in Chicago.

“Watching a good team play rugby will help the new guys and even the veterans,” Swon said. “The Lions are definitely one of the best teams in the Chicagoland area. They have a lot of good players. If our guys can watch their players and see what they do, it will definitely be a good visual to see how we should be acting in different situations. Then we will get some good experience by playing their B squad.”