By DR. J. ZIMMERMAN
Saturday is a rugby day. This is a saying that ruggers around the world have been using for ages. The “Saturday is a Rugby day” saying comes from an old rugby song called “Days of the Week.”
Rugby players have a tradition of singing songs at their post-match celebrations. The words of the song are based upon what an ideal week would be for a rugby player. And, naturally, Saturday is a rugby day.
All rugby players lead very busy lives (as does everyone else, I’m sure). School, work, family, chores, errands and church all take up a major amount of time in a rugger’s life. But Saturday is a rugby day and all else stops for those 24 hours.
One day solely devoted to rugby. Pregame meal, prep time at the field, 1-2 rugby matches and a post-match party at the rugby team’s local pub or clubhouse. It’s a great day, a rugby day.
And since rugby is a family affair, make sure to bring the wife, kids girlfriend, parents and friends to join in. It is enjoyable for everyone to be together and watch rugby and celebrate together afterward.
If you ever see a rugby player out and about, ask him or her what Saturday is. I know what the answer will be.
Here is my rugby roundup for this week.
The Jersey Shore Co-ed Youth Tag Rugby League kicked off its 8th season at Veteran’s Park in Galloway, NJ. Close to 40 children registered in three age groups (from 6 to 14) to learn the game of rugby and play tag rugby matches.
The season is eight weeks long and it is not too late to have your child get involved. Some of our children have been playing the whole eight seasons and others age out of the tag program and start playing regular rugby on our high school team.
In any case, we have never had one child join the tag rugby league and not thoroughly enjoy themselves. Every child plays, every child gets the ball and any child can score. Very fun.
And don’t forget, it is co-ed, and almost half of the participants are girls.
The Jersey Shore Sharks men’s club kicked off the fall season on Sept. 17 with a trip to Phoenixville, Pa., to play the Whitehorse Rugby Club — defending Division 3 champions and former D4 Mid-Atlantic Rugby Union champs.
Whitehorse has some very experienced and talented rugby players who always make their team championship caliber.
The Sharks were very excited to play this match, as we were debuting many new, talented players in key positions and we felt our chances were very good for a win
The Sharks played a very strong first half and held their own against Whitehorse. We had a couple of unlucky breaks and Whitehorse took the lead, 10-0. The Sharks answered back with what we thought was a beautiful score by former Rowan captain J.C. Carr. But the referee had a poor vantage point and never saw Carr touch the ball down for the score and the “try” was denied.
By the second half, more bad breaks would come our way as the referee issued a red card to one of our players for unnecessary roughness.
Typically, the referee will give a yellow card for a warning (yellow card means 10 minutes in the “sin bin”), but if the official feels strongly about the foul play he can go right to a red card. That’s what he did in this case and we had to play a man short for the rest of the match (a red card means you are out for rest of the game without substitution).
Whitehorse exploited its man advantage and fired off a flurry of tries (scores). Jersey Shore answered back with two of its own, as fullback Ryan Fugee from Atlantic Cape Community College scored across the line and flanker Corey McCurty stole a Whitehorse ball and ran 60 meters for a try.
After playing half the game with only 14 players vs. 15, Jersey Shore ended up taking a beating from Whitehorse and lost 52-10.
It was a rough score, but as the head coach, I took a lot of positives away from the match. The forwards on our team played as hard as I have ever seen them. And the new backline was pretty fearsome. They were intimidating tacklers and ball runners.
I also know what we need to work on to improve. For one, more disciplined play to prevent red cards. And a defensive system that can stop overloads when playing a man down.
On Sept. 24, the Sharks travel to Lehigh Valley Rugby Club for divisional play and then on Sept. 31 the Sharks are in Philly to face the Hibernians. Our first home match is on Oct. 8 against Binghamton, NY.
Dr. J. Zimmerman is the president of the Jersey Shore Rugby Club Board of Directors. He is the men’s club head coach and director of youth rugby. Dr. J. is also the team chiropractor. For more information on Jersey Shore Sharks Rugby or if you are interested in playing, visit www.JerseyShoreRugby.com or on Facebook at Jersey Shore Rugby Club, or call 609-652-6363, email: Jerseyshoresharks@gmail.com.