Eric Milner has only one semester left of playing rugby for Troy and he is trying to take full advantage of it.
Milner got his feet wet in rugby when he spent a summer in Australia. He was taught the game by a group of high school players and they all agreed that Milner was a natural at the sport. He explained, “I have been involved with rugby since 2010 after a summer stay in Perth, Western Australia where i was taught by a class of high school guys. I had no clue what I was doing but they said I was a natural so I took their word for it. In 2011 I moved to Troy, found the club and the rest is history.”
Milner has been a staple for Troy rugby during his time with the club. He has taken on numerous leadership positions and has developed into a outstanding scrumhalf. “ I became the secretary of the club, advanced to Vice President last year, and finally president this year. I moved to scrum half two years ago and never looked back,” said Milner who also has played on the Deep South All Stars for three years now.
After a successful 2013 campaign, Milner was expecting the same for 2014 but injuries and graduating players hurt the squad. He said, “Last year’s Troy team finished 5-2 only losing to ULL and was ranked 23 in DII college rugby at one point. That was huge for us as a club.”
He continued, “This season we had high hopes to return to the championship match, but lost almost our entire back line and several key athletes. Forwards were replaced and pounded the ball Troy Rugby style, but we just couldn’t get it going in the back line. James “Thor” Mathews our star 8man went out with a concussion in our second match bs USM and we lost our starting Fly Half Jarred Smith to a knee injury.”
Although 2014 did not go the way Milner planned, he is still proud to be apart of such a great organization and is passionate about Troy rugby.
“I am just proud to be one of the leaders on this team and to be elected captain every once in awhile is something I never would have felt like I was capable of. We have a great group of guys and added to that is the great friends I have made with the guys from across the conference. We’re all brothers,” said Milner
Milner tells of his favorite moment playing for Troy. He said, “My favorite moment is probably the 70 meter kickoff return I had this season against USM, I caught it near the 22 and broke the line near midfield and streaked past about 5 defenders after a stutter step that I have been wanting to hit so bad. Then I was brought down about 10 meters out from the try zone and two of my teammates slow balled it in. I just remember hearing the crowd cheering and Cruise Young and Thor on the sidelines running beside me the entire way. I just wish I had grubbed it and scored the try myself, but it was a lot of fun.”
Troy will be at the Battleship Tournament this weekend along with Spring Hill, Tulane, and South Alabama. Come out and support!