Going into this season, the team had many plans for how their young roster would cope with the new environment, as shown on their playmaryville page.
There have been many changes to the Rugby team over the course of the year and despite their losing record by the end of it, the team has the tools to make next season successful.
Club president, Sam Gardinier, stated, “It’s been a good year overall, it’s been tough because our team is so young. I’d say more than half of our starters are freshman who have never played rugby before.”
“We also had a few guys who couldn’t really play at the beginning of the year and we’ve had a few injuries throughout with Ben and myself and other guys,” Gardinier said. “Overall, the freshman who came out and stuck with it have grown tremendously and become good players and I think they can be great players by the time they have a few more years experience around them. For our guys that have been here a couple years, I think we also saw some great growth.”
He continued by talking about the team improvements. “Overall, the freshman who came out and stuck with it have grown tremendously and become good players and I think they can be great players by the time they have a few more years experience around them.”
“For our guys that have been here a couple years, I think we also saw some great growth. As far as our team chemistry, towards the end of the season we were doing a lot of things better than we were at the beginning.”
The Rugby team is hosted in the Gateway collegiate conference, which hosts Central Missouri, Missouri Science & Tech, Missouri-Kansas City, Principia, Southern Illinois, St. Louis and Washington-St. Louis alongside Maryville.
Gardinier stated, “Gateway conference is a notoriously great conference that has teams that go top 5 -top 10 in Division two for club rugby.”
“I think it helps the learning curve, we tend to have a lot of young guys and go up against teams that have really good athletes that have played for four or five years. It helps us as a team to mature and learn faster, you get to see what it takes. You’re thrown straight into the fire, its better to look at the positives in the conference to help us grow.
Match Secretary, Ben Goodwin, had a different opinion on the season. He stated, “The 2018 year has been a rebuilding year, we lost a lot of veterans. Not just to graduation.”
“There’s been some internal problems which have caused some players to leave not just the team, but Maryville itself.”
The Rugby team is coming off of a tough tournament where they were knocked out of preliminaries 0-3, however they came close to winning in all of their matches, especially against UMKC.
Getting ready for next year, Ben stated “We definitely found out among the freshman, who is going to stick with it and I’d say we’ve gotten closer as a team. It’s still hard because everyone is still new, but its finally looking like everyone understands whats going on now.”