Rucks and Scrums

After a stellar men’s 2007–08 rugby season that ended with a Final Four appearance and a No. 2 national ranking, Saint Mary’s is looking forward to another successful season on the pitch.

“Every year is a unique journey,” says coach Tim O’Brien. “We have a blend of brand-new players with some veteran players.”

Veterans include captain Brendan O’Meara, a 2008 All-American and a fifth-year senior. The vice captain is sophomore Andrew Cook.

O’Brien says returning players are benefiting the team because of the experience they had last year in the Final Four, where the team narrowly lost to perennial powerhouse UC Berkeley.

“They’ve got extraordinary confidence — quite a sense of calm and confidence.” O’Brien says. “That carries over to others.”

O’Brien says the team, which started the ’08–’09 season in November with a win over Utah Valley State and a tie against Utah, is “pumped up” and ready to compete. Interest in rugby has increased, with more media focus on the game and SMC because of its winning records.

“The future looks pretty bright for the College,” O’Brien says.

Some notable home games this season are on Feb. 7 against UC Davis and March 21 against Cal.