Rugby Frequently Asked Questions


What is rugby?

Rugby is game that originated in 1823 on the playing fields of Rugby School, in England. William Webb Ellis is credited with starting the game when "with a fine disregard for the rules of football, as played in his time, first took the ball in his arms and ran with it".
Rugby is similar in some respects to soccer and American football. It is played by two teams of 15 players on a field about 160 yd (150 m) long and 75 yd (70 m) wide, with goal lines 110 yd (100 m) apart and two in-goals (corresponding to football's end zones). The ball may be kicked, carried, or passed (to the sides or rear); tackling is permitted, but blocking is forbidden. Scoring is by carrying the ball into the in-goal or by kicking it between the goal posts.

When is the season?

Both semesters.
Fall practice starts one week after school starts, games 2 or 3 weeks after school starts, ending with the state championship the first weekend in November.
Spring practice starts about 2 weeks after school starts, games when the weather permits (usually about mid February), ending with the Mid-Atlantic playoffs (first weekend in April) or the National Championship (first weekend in May).

When are the practices?

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 4:00 to 6:00.

What should I bring to the practices?

Wear sturdy clothing. Bring a white and dark shirt (NOT gray). Bring a mouth piece if you wear one. Make sure all jewelry is removed and your finger nails are cut. In the warm weather bring extra water. In the cold weather dress in layers.

When are the games?

Usually on Saturdays. If we are in a tournament Saturday and Sunday.

I'm not very athletic, how much time am I going to spend "watching" or can I get cut?

One tradition with rugby is that everybody plays. To do this, extra matches are played. The first match, or "A-side" is similar to the "varsity". After the A-side match, there is usually a B-side match, similar to the "junior varsity". Some schools have such a large rugby team they have a D or E-side!

What if I have a class that finishes at 3:50 or starts at 6:00?

We understand that everybody is here to attend school. Simply let the coaches know, this way they can prepare practices based on the number of late arrivals or early exits.

I thought you had to be big to play rugby?

Not necessarily. With 15 positions, there are opportunities for people of all sizes. As a matter of fact, one of our All-Americans was only 5' 3"!

How much does it cost?

The Initial Costs
Club Dues - Approximately $25 per semester
Registration with USA Rugby - Depending on your age, $10 - $25 per calendar year.
Additional Costs
Cleats (recommended) - $25 - $100
Jersey (optional) - $45
Shorts (recommended) - $25
Socks (recommended) - $5

Why do I have to "pay" to play a college sport?

Although rugby currently falls under the athletic department, rugby at Mary Washington is considered a club sport. The team is given a budget every year, however the budget does not cover all costs incurred by the team.

Aren't there a lot of injuries?

Rugby is a contact sport so everybody gets their share of bumps, bruises, or scrapes during a match - similar to field hockey, lacrosse, or soccer. According to a study entitled "The epidemiology of women's rugby injuries" by the Women's College Hospital Sport Centre for Advanced Research and Education which appeared in The Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine and a study entitled "Knee injuries in women collegiate rugby players" by the American Orthopaedic Rugby Football Association which appeared in The American Journal of Sports Medicine, the incidence of injuries in women's collegiate rugby is comparable with that in other women's contact and collision sports.

What if I have never played rugby prior to college?

Then, you will be in the same boat as approximately 99% of all our players. We teach you everything you need to know. In the last ten years, only 6 players have had playing experience prior to college.

Are there really that many schools with rugby teams?

Yes! There are over 450 men's collegiate teams and over 300 women's collegiate teams.

Who have you played?

Since 1991, Mary Washington has played over 75 different teams from 13 different Local Area rugby unions, they include:
American University
Catholic University
Georgetown University
George Mason University
George Washington University
Johns Hopkins University
Mount St. Mary's
Penn State University
St. Mary's College
Towson University
U.S.  Naval Academy
University of MD - Baltimore
University of Maryland
Washington Furies*
East Penn
Bloomsburg University
Bryn Mawr-Haverford
College of New Jersey
East Stroudsburg University
Kutztown University
LaSalle University
Lehigh University
Lock Haven University
Millersville University
Princeton University
Shippensburg University
Swarthmore College
Temple University
University of Delaware
University of Pennsylvania
West Chester University
York College
Blue Ridge*
James Madison University
James River*
Longwood College
Norfolk Storm*
Old Dominion University
Radford University
Randolph Macon College
University of Richmond
University of Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Tech
William & Mary College
Florida Atlantic University
University of Central Florida
Clemson University
Illinois State University
Iowa State University
North Carolina
East Carolina University
Eno River*
North Carolina State University
University of North Carolina
Middle Tennessee University
University of Tennessee
University of Minnesota
New England
Boston College
Bowdoin College
Northeastern University
Plymouth State University
Providence College
University of Maine
Williams College
Denison University
Ohio State University
Western Oregon University
College of Charleston
University of Wisconsin

*denotes a senior women's club team