Ram Rugby starts season with sentimental win

With new faces in the conference, a young team begins another championship run

By Mbulelo Maqungo
On September 27, 2019

Photo contributed by ASU Rugby Football Club

The ASU Ram Rugby team on Sept. 21 secured their first home victory of the season against the University of Houston.

On Saturday evening, the Rams finished the game with a score of 71-27.

The game provided an opportunity for the Rams to test out their new starters and plays in a live game setting.

Before the game, both teams interlocked as graduate student and scrum-half Kevin Reid lead a prayer for the city of Houston.

“A lot of us here are from the Houston area, so it only felt right to keep those affected by the flooding in our hearts since rugby brought us all together here tonight,” Reid said.

The entire ASU rugby team has rallied behind two principles this year: family and discipline.

“In the years before, we had a lot of players who were in for highs and out for the lows, but now I’m positive when I say we’re all 100 percent in.” said Brian Signorelli III, ASU rugby alumnus and current head coach. “We have a lot of returners who can set the example of what this brotherhood is supposed to mean to the rookies.”

J.D. Raggio, Dakota Hatcher and team captain Cesar Escajeda lead try scores for the game.

“In my opinion, we were actually blessed with adversity and a chip on our shoulders,” Escajeda said. “We were handed a legacy of success and, personally, I feel like we can take it farther than we have before.”

This season marks Escajeda’s second year as team captain. He said he sees it as a chance to try new strategies with a new squad.

“The team took this summer offseason seriously,” he said. “It’s super exciting to watch new players learn about the sport and culture. With new platforms like Major League Rugby growing, I can't wait to see what opportunities open up to the guys.”

One new face is senior Garrett Sawyer, the starting tighthead prop for the game. Sawyer transitioned from football to rugby during his last year at ASU.

“To come from one group of brothers to another has been really welcoming,” Sawyer said. “There’s a lot of similarities between the two sports. With a smaller group of guys, you find a lot more personal bonds, and with everyone getting a chance to run the ball, it gives us bigger guys a chance to shine.”

The cloud coverage and low temperatures of the evening game helped the Rams focus on their competition for the entire 90-minute match.

“As exhausting as the game was, I couldn’t have asked for better weather,” sophomore Colt Bradford said after their win.

The Ram Rugby team hopes to carry this momentum into their next match against St. Edward’s University, a team the Rams have a long history with.

ASU will face off against SEU Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. at the Intramural Fields.

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