By Derek Borycki
The St. Bonaventure men’s rugby team has been getting ready for their upcoming season.
With a week left until the Bonnies men’s varsity rugby team’s season opener against Kutztown University on Saturday, Sept. 16, it’s important to know what to expect this season from the team.
Head coach Andrew Tui Osborne, now in his second year, is excited to continue developing the rugby program at St. Bonaventure.
With one of the largest recruiting classes in recent history, bringing in 31 freshmen to the squad, it’s safe to say this is a very youthful team.
“Last year, one thing that hurt us was injuries. We had a lot of times where an injury would occur, and there wasn’t a lot of depth to fill the holes,” said Tui. “This year, with all the incoming freshmen we will have the depth to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
One key member of this year’s Bonnies squad is Jaret Williamson, a sophomore center who has already represented his country in national rugby play.
“I like the freshmen’s drive to want to be a great team. They came in and immediately bought into the system,” said Williamson. “Coach Tui did a great job this year bringing in the right guys and at a perfect time too.”
The team had their first action in an inter-squad scrimmage on Saturday, Sept. 2.
“The freshmen had great attitude,” said Tui. “The way they played against the upperclassmen showed they are learning the playbook we gave them, and even though the results weren’t what they wanted, they showed the ability to compete.”
The team has been making strides during the offseason to better prepare for the season. Osborne commented on the offseason process.
“Guys formed into small workout groups a few weeks before classes started and then had a team camp before their first game to work on conditioning” said Tui.
This year, the Bonnies are looking to improve on last year’s 3-9 campaign.
“You’ve got to treat every game the same, but I’m very excited for the Kutztown game, because last year we had a close game up until the end, and we’re looking for a better outcome this season,” said Williamson.
Every game is special, but some games have an extra motivation behind them, according to Tui.
“Our home opener against Penn State is one I’m excited for. They are the defending conference champions and it’s a home game so that will be an exciting one,” said Tui.
Last year, they won their home opener against the University of Buffalo 48-31 and will be hoping to do that again this year against the defending conference champions.
“I want to improve on the pitch and also with the team GPA. Improving the preparation process is also a goal for this year,” said Tui. “We lost some close games last year and turning those close losses into wins is a very important goal for us this year.”
Players always set goals for themselves in order to constantly improve themselves.
“My goal, along with the goals of my teammates, is to improve as much as possible in this coming season. We have a very young team, so my biggest goal is for everyone to build together to help this team reach its potential,” said Williamson.
The Bonnies had two players, Jaret Williamson and Eamonn Matthews, named to play for the USA under-20 national team against team Canada.
“It’s great exposure for the program. It is a great way to get the word out about the program, and that is something we are working on as well. They give us great feedback, and it is definitely our goal to continue to send players there and keep spreading the word about our program here at St. Bonaventure” said Tui.
Tui also spent some time with USA national team play as a part of the coaching staff for the USA Islanders.
“It’s a great experience and another great platform to get the word out about our program here at St.Bonaventure,”said Tui.
The Bonnies home games this season take place on Sept. 23 against Penn State University, Sept.30 against Wheeling Jesuit University, Oct. 28 against Notre Dame University and Nov. 4 against Davenport University.