The 2019 Winter Semester at the University of Michigan is well underway, which means our winter season is, too! The Wolverines have spent the past two months out of the bitter cold by taking shelter in Oosterbaan Field House. But with spring on its way and plenty more rugby to play, the team is back on Mitchell Field excited to continue our practices on a full-sized pitch with uprights again!
This year's season began with a daytrip to Pennsylvania on February 10th to face off against Penn State in 15’s. This match proved to be a great opportunity, as it allowed the vets to get back into the swing of things and the rookies to get some real experience out on the pitch. Despite the long drive and not leaving with the win, overall it was an amazing day filled with some good ole fashioned Michigan rugby and an incredible home-cooked meal generously provided by the parents of Penn State.
The following weekend brought our first 7s match of the season when we travelled west to play against Grand Valley State University (GVSU) on February 23rd. It was a great morning packed with four, back-to-back matches: two played by Michigan A and two played by Michigan B. Both sides put up a hard fight and gave it their all, but ultimately GVSU emerged victorious. This match showed us that while we still have plenty to improve on, we have a strong foundation to build upon in preparation for Wolverine 7s.
Since GVSU, we’ve also had a few guest coaches come in to teach the team some new skills. Coach Zach came in earlier this season to help us work on dynamic backline plays. Additionally, this past week we had Coach Herb, former UMWRFC coach and current Detroit Tradesmen coach, come out to hold a scrum session with us.
With these new skills, we’re excited as we head into our final three tournaments of the season: Nash Bash, which beings tomorrow; a round robin tourney next weekend; and Wolverine 7’s on April 13th.
Nash Bash will be a two-day 15s tournament held in Nashville, Tennessee. In preparation for this, the team mainly focused on 15s training this past week, which was especially useful to our new rookies, who were slightly unfamiliar with the 15s format of the game. Our first match of the tournament will be bright and early on Saturday morning at 8am CST against Marquette University. We will be livestreaming our matches from Facebook and posting score updates on Twitter, so stay tuned!
Next week, we will be switching back to 7s with higher intensity to get ready for a round robin tournament on the 31st. MSU and GVSU will be making the trip out for a day chock full of fun and rugby. The round robin tourney will be held on Mitchell Field Turf with kick-off scheduled for 11 am.
Saving the best for last, our final tournament of the year will be Wolverine 7s on April 13th. It seems fitting to end our season on this note, as Wolverine 7s will be a great way to really put everything we’ve learned over the course of the season to the test against some top-notch teams. This annual home tournament will also be our final time taking to Mitchell Field with our seniors.
We’re also excited to keep improving our team’s overall fitness and nutrition as we progress through the season! To accomplish this, the coaches have enforced some friendly intra-team competition by having our intra-squad teams compete to rack up the most workout time outside of practice. We’ve also scheduled a nutrition seminar to help show us how to get the most out of our workouts by fueling our bodies with the proper foods.
If all goes well, the UMWRFC hopes to return to Nationals this year, which will be held in Arizona in May. Keep an eye on our website and social media pages as we progress through the season to learn more. Also, don’t forget to tune into our livestream to watch us take on Marquette University in the first match of Nash Bash tomorrow morning at 8 am CST (9 am EST)!