Rugby Preview Day attracts prospective student athletes


Briana Ryan

The inaugural rugby season is on the horizon. To help recruit players, Head Coach John Gulden hosted a preview day for both the men’s and women’s teams on March 24.

Six prospective athletes gathered to hear Gulden’s message. Twelve athletes were originally scheduled to come, but were unable due to scheduling conflicts, according to Gulden.

“Of course we always want more numbers at these events but because of the weather, a lot of high school rugby schedules have been turned upside down,” he said.

Despite the turnout, Gulden said the event was a success because he shared his message with prospective players.

“Today has gone really well for the program,” said Gulden. “I was definitely able to get my message across to them about what rugby at Marywood is going to be all about.”

Gulden said the program’s marketing campaign “Fierce, Focused, First” has helped him recruit prospective players and spread the word on campus.

“Marywood’s marketing team has helped us tremendously with the rugby programs’ new branding,” said Gulden. “So far, all the prospective players that I’ve talked to have responded well to [the] branding.”

Possible player and Current Freshman Architecture Major Brien McChesney said the event was helpful in his decision whether or not to play rugby next semester.

“I think it was able to answer some of the questions that people who are looking into playing rugby have since the program is new to campus,” said McChesney.

Gulden said the program’s next step is to host more events where prospective players can get into the game.

“Right now, we’re looking into possibly planning a two-day camp and a tournament for local rugby teams,” said Gulden. “We’re also thinking about planning a few clinics for current and prospective students to explain the game to people who may not have played it before.”

Gulden said these events are still early in the planning stages, but he is beginning to reach out to local high school athletic directors about possible clinics.

“I have been talking to high school athletic directors to figure out when they think would be the best timeframes to host clinics,” Gulden said.

Both programs hope to begin Rugby 15s competitive play next semester.

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Twitter: @BrianaRyanTWW