Clemson’s club rugby team was set for their first match-up against University of Mary Washington (UMW) on Saturday, Sept. 4, but the game was canceled after the UMW team contracted coronavirus.
This game would have been a strong predictor for the rest of the season. The club team has not had a regular season since the fall of 2020, as their spring season was cut down to only two games in 2021. The team has been ready, even hosting their annual orange and white scrimmage on Aug. 28, with all players showing tremendous strength on the field.
The club has nine more regular season matches left, including an alumni game on Oct. 3. Many of their opponents are against strong contenders, such as the University of South Carolina, the University of Alabama and the University of Tennessee. While the Tigers are now down a game, their appearance in the southeastern conference finals is still set for November.
Still, the rugby men have an abundance of attributes that will keep up their momentum. While most of the roster is returning players, the team is also under a new head coaching staff. New Zealand native and national rugby player Troy Hall joined the team this past January, and it will be his first full season with the Tigers. His experience and commitment to the sport have been very beneficial to the team which has helped boost morale after the cancellation of the Sept. 4 game.
Freshman Jackson Campeau noted that his career, along with the season, is just getting started, and a lot of work has yet to be done. Going into his first game, Campeau said he is “looking to follow the example the returners have set for us and play every minute of every game just as hard as I can.”
The freshman is grateful for his teammates, noting that “the senior leadership on the team has been extremely welcoming, and that it is an honor to be on the team.” While captains are undecided yet, two players fans should look out for this season are Max Paz and Tom Goodall, both of whom are upperclassmen returning players looking to take the team to the championship with their speed and overall skill.
The team as a whole agrees that the setback of not having their first game will not slow them down. If anything, this delay of game only gets them more excited, especially since their next game is a home opener. This game is set for Friday, Sept. 10, against Lander University. You can follow the Rugby team for the rest of their season on their Instagram @clemsonrugby, Twitter @ClemsonRugby, and Facebook. Home matches are located on the National Athletic Village Field by the Pier in Seneca.