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The Rams took their first match over Queen’s, and they’re looking to build and attract more players as they push for varsity status
After nearly a year of planning and organizing, Ryerson’s newly founded men’s rugby team took to the field to kick off its inaugural season.
The Rams played their first game of the season on Sept. 21, earning a 14-5 victory against the Queen’s 4s.
Coach Robert Brohman says the main goal for the short, six-game season is to develop as a team.
“I don’t know the league, players don’t know the league, so we’re not worried about winning or losing,” Brohman said. “We’re worried about playing well and developing as a group of rugby players together who don’t know each other.”
Jacob Poulin, captain of the team, says the team will use this season to develop chemistry.
“A big part of rugby is learning how the guys you are playing with play,” Poulin said.” So we’re bonding as a team, getting to know how we play and then we’re just trying to get as many wins as possible.”
Last year, the only rugby fix Ryerson had was a recreational rugby club where students could meet and play together outside of Kerr Hall.
The ultimate goal for this team is to reach varsity status and compete amongst the Ontario University Athletics’ (OUA) elite.
The Rams were established in the spring of 2019, when Ian Custadillo and Rajiv Bahadur, two Ryerson students who had a keen interest in promoting the casual club into a competitive team, decided to build a team from the ground up.
It took several months, but the pair eventually registered a team for competition. The team held tryouts in August, with over 20 players coming out.
This season, the team is competing in the Scholars League, under Rugby Ontario.
Scholars League is comprised of five other university and college rugby teams in similar situations. But the league has its issues. Already, two of Ryerson’s six games have been postponed.
Despite that, the hope is that if the Rams play well and pull off a strong couple of seasons, they may be playing varsity rugby in a few years.
And Poulin is optimistic they’ll get there.
“Pretty much what we have to do to get into that is just prove that we’re good enough,” he said.
Poulin gives Custadillo much of the credit for getting the team to where it is now.
“Ian put in a lot of work,” said Poulin. “He pretty much found us a coach, set up the team, told everybody about it, bought us some jerseys, so we’re really appreciative of that.”
Brohman says he hopes this season will promote the team and attract new players.
As injuries are common in the sport, he says the OUA would expect up to 40 or 45 registered players to be considered for varsity.
“It’s going to be easier next season, I believe, because the word will be out,” said Brohman.
But the Rams won’t let being the new team in town hold them back. They say they are still confident in the group of guys they have and will look to go as far as possible this season.
“Everyone’s kind of like, ‘oh they’re the new team, we can easily run them over,’” said Brandon Filice, another member of the team. “But first week, everyone’s just banging bodies, big hits everywhere and everyone’s just making their tackles.”
Brohman especially has a lot of confidence in his team as they look towards their next game on Oct. 19 against Carleton.
“I’ve seen huge improvements since the last week of August, so I’m pretty happy with where we’re at. If you had told me back in March this is where we’d be, I’d say that’s a perfect place to be.”