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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Club Sports Notebook: UA Rugby adds walk-ons

The Arizona rugby club team has a history of prestige on campus. Former Wildcats have even gone on to be honorable mention All-Americans, Junior All-Americans or played in the Rugby World Cup.

The rugby team welcomes 23 walk-ons and 30 total players into their 2015 recruiting class. This provides the Wildcats with depth and tremendous athletic ability.

Rugby at Arizona has been built from the ground up and has become one of the more popular and recognizable club sports at Arizona. It has been known as the “rookie program,” because of the talent it has brought in. Many of the athletes pick up the sport while in college.

Alan Winder, one of this year’s walk-ons, comes from a swimming and football background. He made himself known throughout the Pac-12 Conference and at the AT&T Winter National Championships while swimming at Arizona for three years.

Another standout is Mad Max. Born Max Stephan, Mad Max has earned his name from his 6-foot-3 build and 215-pound bulk. He is a physical competitor who is also a rookie to the sport, but he delivers tackles and big hits. In rugby, if a player is ever confused on what to do, the easiest things to remember are make hits, win the ball and make tackles.

The walk-ons all show great potential and great strength. There can either be seven players on the field from each team, or 15, depending on the match. Bringing new members to the team only increases the competitiveness, while maintaining healthy athletes that need rest. This helps with not burning out too many athletes in games, leaving room for substitutions and maintaining valuable threats with healthy players.

The Wildcats will simply have to see who develops in such a wide pool of athletic ability. The roster consists of more than 80 players, making it competitive at the varsity, junior varsity and development levels. Any of these players can make the sevens-team or the 15-team.

The fall season opens Oct. 10 with a seven-player match against Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Calif.


Follow Gia Trevisan on Twitter.


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