ASU rugby looks to regain former glory

The ASU men’s rugby team could be considered one of the most successful club programs at the University over the last five years.

At least coach Gary Lane thinks so.

“Rugby has been one of the most successful ASU programs,” Lane said. “We’re committed to winning and representing ASU in the best way.”

While last season’s 5-7 record doesn’t speak much for Lane and his team, ASU rugby had only accumulated four losses over four years prior to that season.

Lane thinks this year should surpass last season’s record and performance for sure.

“(We) should be much better,” Lane said. “Last year was a rebuilding season and had a lot of young guys and a few injured, and this year we have the veteran core to our advantage.”

Lane is referring to junior Adam Sandstrom and sophomore Sione Leto, who both played on the U.S. Under-20 national team.

Rugby president and senior Vincent Manna is also returning from an injury last season and is expected to make a huge contribution to the team.

Lane expects a great season moving forward and hopes to get back to the winning ways of the past.

“I’m excited for the team to get back to its past glory: winning,” Lane said. “We are an official sport of the Pac-12, and our goal this season is to win a Pac-12 championship.

“It’s a formidable goal, but it would be respectable even if we can finish in the top 3.”

The Pac-12 rugby has a strong record for competitive, championship caliber teams.

Over the last three years, there has been one Pac-12 team that has won the Collegiate Rugby Championship (Utah in 2010) and UA finished as the runner-up last year, losing to Dartmouth.

The Sun Devils will be hosting the runner-up Wildcats this Friday night on the SDFC West field at 5 p.m.

Lane says he doesn’t have a game plan for the match for a reason.

“The game doesn’t mean anything, so we’re not going to show them anything,” Lane said. “It’s an exhibition game and they’re in our conference, so we’re just going to work on the basics.

“Win is the game plan.”

Lane hopes students will come out and support this year’s Sun Devil rugby squad, as he expects this season to provide a thrill for viewers.

“We play teams that are amongst the top 5 in the country, and we are too,” Lane said. “ASU rugby will be a team to watch.”

 

Reach the reporter at msterrel@asu.edu