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The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Rumbling into new era, Rugby club prepares to tackle new season ahead

SFSU’s rugby club is back for the first time since 2019
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Sean Young
Several members of SFSU’s men’s rugby team attempt to tackle a teammate during practice on Tuesday at the field outside Mashouf Wellness Center. (Sean Young / Golden Gate Xpress)

The San Francisco State University rugby club has officially dusted off their gear and is ready to put their game faces on for upcoming competitions this week after meeting for the first time since before the pandemic.

Adam Flores, president of the student-run club, takes pride in holding each member accountable for their effort to make this a successful season. Now that the club has restarted, they can rally together a well-rounded group of athletes from various sports backgrounds by opening it up to everyone.

Flores navigates the team through structure and cohesiveness to collaborate with schools like Stanford and Chico to plan games for  matchups. He also oversees procuring equipment, finding future competitors, and figuring out where matches will take place.

“First off, it’s a lot of paperwork,” Flores said. “Takes a lot of paperwork and a lot of head-scratching to get stuff like that going but rugby has a neat way of lending itself to letting everyone be able to play.”

Jaden Cook (center right) holds a rugby ball during a SFSU men’s rugby team practice on Tuesday on the field outside Mashouf Wellness Center. (Dan Hernandez / Golden Gate Xpress) (Dan Hernandez)

Flores describes teamwork as their best quality when playing. However, the ultimate test is whether or not they can work together during a live game due to many players being new to the sport to play a game of rugby. 

“It’s one thing to have all of these different all-star players that are just amazing and fundamentally perfect,” Flores said. “But if they can’t be surrounded by equally amazing or equally connected players, you have a whole bunch of one-man teams instead of a 15-man team.”

Nate La Rouche, captain and coach, has been playing since he was 7 years old and is the most experienced on the team. However, he stepped into the coaching role when the previous coach had to step away for health reasons.

“All the guys are hungry to learn,” La Rouche said. “I definitely feel responsible for making sure they learn the right way and they keep improving. As long as we’re improving, I’m happy with it.”

La Rouche embraces the role of getting all the players on the same page and becoming a successful team. The team has built a brotherhood when it comes to the environment the team brings, according to La Rouche.

Charles Bennett, a player on SFSU’s men’s rugby team, leads players through warmups before practice on Tuesday on the field outside Mashouf Wellness Center. (Sean Young / Golden Gate Xpress) (Sean Young)

“I think the main thing for me is rugby is just a great culture in general,” he said. “This was able to bring together a bunch of guys from different backgrounds, now we have a brotherhood and a camaraderie that I don’t think you would really find anywhere else.”

Kiril Gupta, the newly elected secretary of the team, is a primary example of using skills from previous athletic experiences in the sport of rugby. Gupta played football in high school and also played a little bit of ice hockey. He was familiar with high-contact sports, so rugby was an easy choice for him since football isn’t offered at SFSU.

“Football and rugby have some similarities, contact especially,” Gupta said. “I feel like for me it was easy to make the conversion and convert to rugby because the only difference is the conditioning.”

The club’s first competition will be at American River College this Saturday, Feb. 10, and then they’ll host San Jose State University on Feb. 17.

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About the Contributors
Kathia Noriega, Staff Reporter
Kathia Noriega (she/her) is a reporter for Golden Gate Xpress. She is a journalism major and was born in Redwood City but grew up in San Mateo, California. Kathia enjoys watching baseball and sports highlights in her spare time which sparked her joy for writing about sports. Before transferring to SFSU, she attended Skyline College and wrote for the student newspaper, The Skyline View. Kathia loves listening to music 24/7 and if you happen to catch her listening to music, it’s probably either J.Cole or Bad Bunny.
Sean Young, Campus Editor
Sean Young (he/him) is the campus editor for Golden Gate Xpress. He is a journalism major with a minor in California Studies. Originally from the small town of Sebastopol, Sean now lives in San Francisco. Before transferring to SF State, Sean studied journalism at Santa Rosa Junior College, where he was editor-in-chief of the college's student publication The Oak Leaf News. In his spare time, Sean can be found watching sports, listening to his vinyl record collection and reading the latest news from The New York Times.
Dan Hernandez, Visuals Editor
Dan Hernandez (he/him) is the Visuals Editor for Golden Gate Xpress, majoring in journalism and minoring in business administration. He is an award-winning multimedia journalist, applying his skills in both news reporting and press photography. He got his start in journalism at 15 years old as a staff writer for The Advocate at Contra Costa College before becoming editor-in-chief as a high school senior. Outside of journalism, he is probably camping on a road trip, playing water polo, riding his bike or dancing at concerts. He also goes by the nickname “Biscuit.”

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