Rugby loses key players, falls to Ohio State

By Carley Kulenkamp

In this weekend’s matchup with Ohio State, the Illinois men’s rugby team suffered the loss of two key players: captain Matt Ramsey and Elijah Seay.

Ramsey went down late in the first half with an ACL tear, and Seay left the game early in the second half due to a shoulder injury. Both players are dominant forces on the team and their absence was felt by the Illini, who fell to the Buckeyes 52-10. Ramsey is out for the season, and Seay’s status is up in the air.

Combining injury with playing a top-20 team proved to be fatal for Illinois, who are now 0-2.

“Losing those two crucial players created a bit of disconnect between the backs,” junior Rich Daniels said. “Thus, we let way more scores through than we should have.”

The Illini came out strong in the first half against the No. 20 Buckeyes. Ramsey put Illinois on the board with a three-point penalty kick in the first half, but after his departure, the Illini had difficulty scoring. Tighthead prop John Heaney scored the remainder of Illinois’ points on the team’s only try.

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Illinois has had a tough break opening this season facing two of the toughest teams in the Big Ten back-to-back — Illinois lost to Indiana 52-23 two weeks ago.

From here on, the Illini’s season should start looking up, beginning this weekend when they travel to Iowa City, Iowa, to face the Hawkeyes. Iowa has played one game this season, falling to No. 17 Wisconsin 87-0.

“I am very confident that we will beat them”, Daniels said about Iowa. “But if we lack focus in practice this week, they will be as hard as Indiana or Ohio State.”

After suffering those two losses, Daniels is optimistic about the rest of the season. He is confident the Illini can win the remainder of their games against fellow Big Ten teams Iowa, Minnesota, Purdue and Michigan, allowing them to finish 4-2.

The team is still coachless, and Daniel said he is actively looking for a faculty member to coach the team.

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