Rugby season comes to delayed outcome

Bobby Scott, Editor-In-Chief

It has been since Nov. 1 that Pitt-Johnstown’s Farm Ape Club rugby players last competed in a game before Saturday’s season-ending 44-14 loss to Indiana University/Purdue University-Fort Wayne.

The game was one of four National Small College Rugby Organization 2014-2015 men’s Challenge Cup quarterfinal contests.

A game the club earned the right to play in by defeating Gannon University 42-29 in the Three Rivers Collegiate Rugby-Silver Conference championship game.

The game was originally scheduled for Nov. 16 , but was postponed due to wintry conditions, according to senior Pitt-Johnstown rugby player Josh Horner.

“It was a bummer because we were ready to play back then, but also a blessing because we took this opportunity to train,” he said.

Horner said that the team has been reserving gym time and have even practiced with local rugby clubs such as Greensburg Area Rugby Football Club.

“We also have the mindset that practice is not the only form of training we need,” he said.

The team was at risk of not being able to participate in the Challenge Cup playoffs due to a university policy that denies the club’s permission to travel a certain distance without a faculty or staff member.

Fortunately, for the club’s sake, a faculty member was found to accompany the team.

Physics instructor Dave Willey agreed to be the faculty chaperone, according to Horner.

“Honestly, a lot of teachers or faculty members have a busy schedule with school and families, so we were lucky that Willey had the time and interest in going,” he said.

Senior Captain and native of Portogruaro, Italy, Giovanni Dall’Amico said the team has played better than it has since he has during his time at Pitt-Johnstown.

“In the four years that I have been here, I have never seen the team play this level of rugby,” he said.

“I have played rugby all my life in Italy, but there are (teammates of mine) who started playing rugby just this year, and they are playing incredibly well.”

Dall’Amico said  there is a huge potential for the sport in America, even though its still developing.