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Tennessee Rugby in National Spotlight

Vols to face Bowling Green Saturday for Club National Title
Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 12:34 AM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - It’s a group of Tennessee athletes who’ve flown under the radar this fall. How much so? Well, they’re playing for a national championship this weekend and the players couldn’t be more proud, “Dude it’s been awesome, my freshman year we won the sec and went to the national tournament and finished 7th, but going to the championship and winning it all is just awesome. this team’s heart and determination is unbelievable,” says senior Josh Shetler.

The Tennessee Rugby Club is headed over to North Carolina this Saturday to play for the 2021 Fall Collegiate Rugby Club Championship in Division-I and what does that mean to these guys? Well,everything says Marcus McClain, “It would be a dream come true, if you’d have told me six years ago that i was going to be playing for a national championship i wouldn’t have believed you, but here I am. I’m so excited.”

These guys deserve all the praise and more after beating the likes of Georgia and Alabama and a couple weeks ago Clemson in the Southeast Conference Region championship capping off a perfect season and #1 national ranking.

“It’s nice to get the attention but do it for the love of the game and just love going out there and competing with my teammates. it’s great to have an opportunity to showcase our club and show what we can do,” says team student president Tom Pelini.

So what’s this sport all about? Well, the average person may look at rugby and think, yeah, that’s kill the man with the ball, but there’s a lot more to it than that says Shetler, “It’s a tough sport to learn, you can kick, you can throw the ball backwards, but you can’t throw it forwards. there’s a lot of rules.”

McClain adds, “the rules are actually really strict about tackling and things like that. so you have to tackle with your shoulder, you have to wrap up things like that to protect everybody. there’s no tackling with your head like in football so it keeps us pretty safe out here.”

Like the football team did this season, Tennessee Rugby will try an best Bowling Green on Saturday, only this one’s for all the marbles!

The Tennessee Rugby Network will stream the game on Saturday at Noon as Tennessee plays for it’s first ever Rugby National Title.

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