Men’s club rugby boasts equally strong program and camaraderie

Bethany Blass, Co-Sports Editor

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Among the dozens of club athletic teams the University has to offer, the Bucknell Men’s Rugby Football Club (BUMRFC) is perhaps one of the most established. The BUMRFC competes at the collegiate level in the Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union’s (EPRU) Division III West league. The club is supported by a long history of Bison rugby, as the current program was reestablished in 2006 and continues to grow.

Captain James Hallam ’16 says the team has rebuilt and evolved itself. For example, in the 2012-2013 season, the team only won one game. However, in the past three seasons, the Bison have only fallen to neighboring Susquehanna. This year, the team won the first two rounds of the playoffs comfortably and managed to come out victorious over Susquehanna. The Orange and Blue are now ranked sixth nationally. They will travel to the National Rugby Championship Sweet 16 against Duke in April.

The success of the program is also largely due to the intense coaching style of former Marine Corps officer Martin Migliori. “The physicality and aggressiveness of the sport prevents any kind of casual involvement, but it also creates this strange cathartic experience that really brings teammates together,” Hallam said.

Clearly, the program, is enticing to a strong group of male students. Hallam’s interest in the sport has developed from his background; he was born in England and his father played rugby across the pond. Pierce Whiting ’17 recalls wanting to continue his high school passion at the collegiate level, and he gives credit to his teammates for making the experience enjoyable enough to stick with the program. “I found out about the club at the activities fair during orientation my freshman year and joined on the spot,” he said.

Despite non-varsity status, the Bison practice extensively, putting in multiple hours six days a week, all year long. The men play home matches on the field just above the intramural fields, closest to the golf course. The club team hosts three home matches, excluding playoffs. But as members of the EPRU, the Bison will travel as far as Gettysburg College and Lafayette College for away games.

“Since the first practice I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. I have loved every second of my experience with the club. The camaraderie on the team is unparalleled and our coaching staff is excellent, especially Coach Migs. We have also been very successful on the field, winning the EPRU championship this season,” Whiting said. 

“My advice is don’t hesitate to join a club, you might like it or you might hate it, but you won’t know until you go out there and give it a chance,” he said.

He continued, “Clubs are a great way to meet people you otherwise wouldn’t interact with on campus.” 

“I’ll never be able to think about my college experience without thinking about Bucknell Rugby,” Hallam said.

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