Illinois men's rugby takes fifth place at Iowa tournament
April 10, 2016
Illinois rugby battles weather, injuries, and lack of sleep but manages to go 3-2 in Iowa over the weekend. #Illini
By Edwin Hsieh
The sevens team — a sub group of the Illinois men’s rugby team— participated in Iowa’s tournament in Iowa City this past weekend. The injury-stricken Illini battled frigid temperatures all weekend, but went 3-2 and took fifth place in the tournament
The team had a slow start, beginning the tournament with losses against Purdue, 31-10, and Iowa, 21-10.
The Illini were forced to stay in a hotel that was an hour away from the tournament because all of the hotels in Iowa City were booked due to the national wrestling tryouts.
The team said that the lack of sleep seemed to be a big factor in the team’s sluggish starts.
“We were committing too many players to tackles and getting stuck in ruts,” senior player Danny Lyons said. “Once we cleaned that up, we started playing (better) as the day went on.”
Illinois came into the tournament with some notable injuries. Because of this, many inexperienced players were forced to play bigger roles than expected.
“Our main goal was to help those newer players to get a feel for the game and to help them improve,” said freshman Joey Lincoln.
After the morning games, the team made necessary defensive adjustments. The Illini were able to figure out what they needed to do to capitalize on the other teams’ weaknesses.
The team went 3-0 in the afternoon games, securing wins against the Wisconsin B-Team twice and Iowa’s B-team once.
“Guys stepped up and got the job done,” Lyons said. “I think we got a lot of experience out of this weekend, and that will help us going forward.”