LeTourneau Rugby Club: Successful Start to the Season

Congratulations to LeTourneau Rugby for their first win last weekend in Dallas! This victory marks a coming of age for the club as they move into intercollegiate competitions. “With two games down we’ve adapted our strategy and now know what it takes to compete at the college level,” said John Burgess, one of the team captains. “We’ve moved from a club, into a brotherhood.”

“Rugby definitely teaches great life lessons about determination, teamwork, and dedication. We've learned to keep battling even when everything hurts and the odds are against us," said John Burgess.

The team that played against the University of Dallas consisted of the following players:

  • Matt Ackerman
  • John Broda
  • John Burgess
  • Josiah Carter
  • Daniel de Villiers
  • Michael Eaton
  • Caleb Elder
  • Ben Hansen
  • James Hilbish
  • Tyler Hussey
  • Tim Jarvi
  • Noah Morrison
  • Conner Phillips
  • Zeke Riggenbach
  • Garrett Sheplay
  • Brandon Roche
  • Joel Sun
  • Johnathan Thornton
  • Mike Zink



Other members that traveled with the team were Geoffrey Williamson, Aravinda Udangamuwa and Seth Brown, but they did not play as they are currently injured. (Geoff suffered a fractured finger in the team’s first game against UTD, but refused to come out and finished the game with his fingers taped). Because the team is currently playing men’s D3 collegiate rugby, female teammates (Morgan Shinn and Nadine Caley) may not play in the league games.  However, LeTourneau Rugby hope to develop a women’s sevens team to compete in the future.

The final score against the University of Dallas was LeTourneau 19, University of Dallas 12.  LeTourneau scored all 3 tries in the first half, with the first by John Broda, the second by Brandon Roche, and the final try by Joel Sung. Sung missed the first conversion but successfully kicked the last two squarely through the posts.  The second half was hard-fought by the team’s forwards, who held off the UD offense at the goal line for over ten minutes. “In rugby, when the offense recycles the ball through a ruck it is called a phase,” explained Purvis. “LETU’s forwards completed twenty or more phases of defense and seven scrums before conceding the try to UD.” The rest of the half remained scoreless, and LeTourneau Rugby went home with our first victory in club history.

LeTourneau Rugby has learned a lot since their first game. As Burgess said, “the team has learned to play together as one in both ups and downs.  It has made us value what each other have to contribute both on and off the field.”

LeTourneau Rugby Club member and LeTourneau student body president James Hilbish stays one step ahead of the University of Dallas team.

LeTourneau Rugby’s next game is November 17th at 2:00 PM in Wichita Falls, TX, where the team will be traveling to take on Midwestern State University. For more information about the club, see the YellowJacket’s series about their development and practices last school year (parts 1, 2, and 3).

Rugby updates and photo credit: Vincent Purvis.

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