Rugby prepares for playoffs


The NMU Moosemen club rugby team turned in a dominating performance on the road Saturday against the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), beating the Raider’s club team by a score of 50-7.

“Everybody played real well,” said the NMU club president and coach Will Thompson. “Defensively we played well, we only gave up one try.”

Thompson said that the key to their victory may have been a simple style of play.

“We played fundamental rugby,” he said.
Up next for the Moosemen is their final regular season game, a home matchup against Marquette University. If they come away with the victory, they will earn the number one seed going into the post-season.

Thompson explained that a victory over Marquette means the Moosemen will get to compete for the division championship. A loss would put them in the consolation rounds.

“It’s been a good season, but coming down here we’ve got to win if we want to keep playing,” Thompson said.

Should NMU earn a number one seeding for the playoffs, it will mark the second time in three years the feat has been accomplished.
“Two years ago they went undefeated,” Thompson said. “[They] ended up losing in the first game of the playoffs to a pretty bad team. We plan on changing things.”

The Moosemen have been successful so far, having only lost one game this season while defeating schools like UW-Whitewater, who won the division last year.

According to Thompson, one advantage the NMU club has is the size of its players.

“We’re a very big team, we’ve got a lot of size in our scrums,” he said. “Our scrums held up really well [against MSOE], we more or less manhandled them.”

Thompson is optimistic about the team’s chances in its final regular season game, noting that the Moosemen haven’t lost a home game in five years.

A potential opponent the Moosemen could face in the playoffs is the club from UW-Madison, a team coming off a successful campaign last year.

“If we do end up meeting them, we’ll end up going in blindfolded, but I’m sure we’ll able to pull a win out of it,” Thompson said.

The Moosemen will play the Marquette team at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3 at the Wright Street rugby fields.

— Trevor Pellerite