Princeton Women’s Rugby (PUWRFC) competes in the Division I Ivy Rugby Conference. The club has been around for awhile, celebrating 37 years this fall. For a team that used to be coached by the male players in the past, they’ve taken some serious strides. Boasting an experienced coaching staff, head coach Chris Ryan has been with the club since 2005, becoming head coach in 2013. He is aided by coaching consultant legend Emil Signes (if you don’t know who this man is or what he has done for rugby, please take a look) who has coached on the international level. Princeton’s Captain, Jessica Lu, speaks about the club and rugby culture at Princeton.
Lu mentioned that the squad in incredibly diverse. From rugby knowledge and academic interests to background and experience, these women come together to form a united team. “We do not have a lot of players coming in with previous experience, but what truly gives the team energy is all the new players discovering their passion for rugby, both the sport and the community.”
The squad lost a lot of seniors this year and currently have some players out due to injury, including the captain herself. Being short on numbers has been hard on the team but according to Lu, “the sophomores this year are a very large and talented class and are definitely starting to fill the shoes of the departed players.”
Last week the Tigers beat UMBC in a nail-biter, 27-22. Lu recalled the match, her squad started out slow, soaking tackles and weren’t quite as physical as their opponents. Players in unfamiliar positions also didn’t help the situation as they were down 22-0 at the end of the first half. In the second half, the Tigers seemed to find some fire scoring 27 unanswered points. “We were much more aggressive on defense and unafraid to initiate contact. This won us turnovers, which contributed to a much stronger offense, with good offloads, support, and eventually tries.”
Lu wanted to mention some of her teammates like junior Keren Kabambi (number 8) who “is great at drawing numerous defenders and creating offload opportunities for others, and is very hard to bring down.” Senior Gabby Gibbons (outside center) “is fast and powerful as a runner, with a lethal stiff-arm that helps her score tries after beating 3-4 people.” Lastly, senior Alex Aparicio (flyhalf) “ is one of our most experienced players who provides leadership on the field and is great at running through gaps to set her teammates up.”
PUWRFC will play away at Dartmouth this Saturday, September 30th.
Follow online: http://princetonrugby.com/women/
On Facebook: @puwrfc
On Twitter: @PUWRFC
Or Instagram: @puwrfc