From left to right: Pat Kueny, Anif McDonald, Ryan Forgione
Name: Anif McDonaldYear: 2016Title: PresidentField Position: Hooker, #2
Name: Pat KuenyYear: 2015Title: CaptainField Position: Inside Center, #12
Name: Ryan ForgioneYear: 2015Title: CaptainField Position: 8 man, #8
This week I had the privilege to sit down with a few members of the Fairfield University Rugby Team. As a fan of our rugby team myself, it’s a pleasure to share the exciting news that this Sunday, November 9th , the Men’s Rugby Team will be playing against Vassar in the Conference Championship. Last year, they beat Vassar 35-10 and this year they’re are hoping for a repeat. If they win, the boys will continue on to the National Sweet 16, where 16 teams from around the country will compete against each other as opposed to the tri-state area that they have beat in their conference.
The Men’s Rugby Team has had an amazing season, with a 7-0 record during their regular season and a 9-0 record including their 2 playoff games. Their point differential from the nine games is over 550 points. That means on average, they beat each team by about 60 points, but it didn’t come easy. Coach Ben Kelly, owner of BK athletics, a crossfit gym on Post Road, schedules 2-a-day practices three times a week all year round. That means they have a crossfit session at 6:30 a.m. and then a 5 p.m. practice around the field later in the day.
Ben Kelly instills a lot of positivity and puts a great amount of focus on the athlete’s future. Each player makes “goal cards” dated in the future with what they hope to achieve. The teammates hold each other accountable to fulfilling their cards. We can probably bet a good amount of the cards say BEAT VASSAR! And kudos to Kelly for some great coaching.
Her Campus: So the upcoming game, is it a rivalry between you and Vassar?Anif McDonald: There is a rivalry, the biggest one.Ryan Forgione: The biggest one.
AM: It’s bigger than Sacred Heart, because we made it that way.HC: *Laughs* Does that make the game more exciting for you guys?AM: This is exactly what we hoped for.RF: I’ve wanted this since the start of the seasons.AM: I’ve wanted this since my freshman year.Pat Kueny: Since my freshman year!
HC: How is the team this year?RF: Lethal.AM: You can quote that, by the way.
HC: I definitely will! Why did you choose to play rugby?AM: I played rugby in high school so this is my 8th or 9th year going into it. I love the game and I love my teammates, so they make it easier to play and they make me want to play more.PK: I started second semester of my freshman year I kind of got persuaded into it. I played football in high school so I love being on a team and being competitive. As soon as I started playing rugby I loved it.RF: I played lacrosse in high school but I came here and wanted to keep playing sports so I joined rugby and stuck with it.
Do you guys have any plan for Sunday, any rituals that you follow or any sort of things that you will do?AM: I think were going to keep it like a regular game. I mean, we’ll probably have music at the field and we’re hoping that every fan wears red, so it’s like a sea of red. We kind of want it to be more of a D1 type setting where we get a lot of hype and a lot of fans, so far we kind of have a theme, but as for game play and mentality, it’s just another game.
HC: So that brings me to my next question, is there anything you guys want the fans to know or you want to say to the fans?AM: Wear red.RF: Be loud.PK: Come out, bring signs, be obnoxious, we’ll love it. We’ll feed off of it.
HC: Is there a possibility that if you guys win some of the national championship games will be held here at Fairfield?RF: No, they’ll move to warm weather locations since cause it gets cold outAM: So this is our last home game of the season officially.RF: Yeah it’s huge.AM: Yeah so that means it’s the seniors last home game.HC: Wow, so that’s really important, well I hope you guys win!All: We will.
[UPDATE 11/14] The Fairfield men's rugby team won the Tri-State Conference Championship last Sunday, defeating Vassar College. Tomorrow, November 15 at 1 p.m. they take on Rowan University at home. The winner will go to the National Sweet 16 at James Madison University. Watch highlights from last weeks game below, and head to the game tomorrow!