Rugby delivers excitement, stellar record

By Elizabeth Frome

What could possibly make soccer a more interesting sport for viewers?

Simple, make it more like football.

Okay, I’ll go ahead and be the one to say it. As physically demanding and tough as soccer is, it’s not all that appealing to viewers, at least not in the United States. That’s not to say the sport doesn’t require talent, athleticism, endurance and patience. It’s just lacking the excitement factor that makes it interesting for the people in the stands.

It’s kind of like golf and baseball8212;one of those sports that’s a lot more fun to play than to watch. Golf, baseball and soccer are great at the end of a game when it’s crunch time and are a lot of fun to watch during the PGA Tour, the World Series and the World Cup. But let’s face it: There’s not a whole lot of excitement leading up to that point for viewers.

In soccer, goals are rare, possession changes are all too frequent, and there’s not a ton of contact. As someone who grew up watching football and basketball (in the days when contact was actually allowed in the NBA), soccer just doesn’t do it for me.

It’s not all bad though, and it definitely has its moments8212;I’ve got to give it that. After 80 frustrating minutes of scoreless back and forth, the goal made near the end of the game is pretty cool. Red and yellow cards also up its appeal, adding some often much-needed intensity and hot-headedness.

But what if there was a sport that took all the good things about soccer and combined them with the constant intensity and physicality of football?

Good news: There is such a sport. The game is called rugby, and it’s sweeping the nation. The U athletic program just needs to get on board.

Rugby is a combination of soccer and football, and it’s about as dirty and gritty as it gets. Contact is the name of the game, much like football, but rugby doesn’t include padding. I’ll admit, it’s a little unnerving to see people get plowed without helmets or shoulder pads, but it definitely keeps your attention8212;much more so than soccer.

For the past few years, the U has become well-known around the country for its football program. Two undefeated seasons in five years demands national recognition.

Not too many people know this, but as it turns out the U’s rugby club is actually good, too.

The rugby team has just two matches left in its fall 2009 schedule and thus far is undefeated at 6-0. It’s ranked No. 3 in the nation. Last year, the team finished out the regular season at 17-4.

Not bad, guys.

The U already has an awesome field the rugby club could play on, and plenty of football fans who likely wouldn’t mind going to a few rugby matches in between football games. It’s not a sport that has a huge fan base in the area, but the club definitely deserves some recognition and a chance to pull in a few more followers.

Whereas Utah already has one school-sponsored soccer team, rugby takes the cake on this one.

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