Rowan Rugby Drops First Match of the Season

Rowan rugby lines up during a match. Rugby lost their first match of the year to St. Joseph's University. - Photo / Rowan Rugby Proflink

Rowan rugby was handed their first loss from No. 3 St. Joseph’s University on Saturday, Oct. 22. The match was hard fought and physical, which resulted in a 10-7 defensive battle.

The Profs are now 3-1, third in the conference and 12th in the country. 

Head Coach Tim Smith is very happy with the improvement of ranking for the Profs. When the poll first came out, the Profs were ranked 16.

“Every game is going to get tougher because this is the hardest part in our schedule,” Coach Smith said. “Every week we got to put in the time in between these lines. They got to be 150%, there is no 100%, no 80%, there is no time to take off. Now with these rankings, people see that and your head is on the platter. So, people are going to come after you because they want a piece of somebody that has recognition nationally.” 

The Profs gave it their all in the match, down by ten at halftime and scoreless until senior Jaylen Shanklin scored the try that the Profs needed to get onto the scoreboard.

“The game was tough,” Shanklin said. “It is always good to score, but I’d rather not score and let my teammates score, if that means a win. So, the score doesn’t really mean anything because we did not achieve the ultimate goal and that is the win on the scoreboard.” 

This Saturday, the Profs will travel down to Maryland to take on Salisbury University. The Salisbury Sharks are currently 3-3-0 and fourth in the conference, and they are also coming into the match after a loss. The Sharks just lost to the University of Maryland 21-24. 

The match will be the Profs’ second official road match of the season. Since the postponement of the match at James Madison University, the Profs now have breaks in between road matches.

“We are 100% ready to take on Salisbury,” Shanklin said. “I got trust and belief in the people to the right and left of me. I wouldn’t want to go to any battle or game without anybody else in the county.” 

Since this is another conference matchup, the Profs will need to prove to themselves and the other teams that they deserve to be on top of the conference. They are currently third and the Sharks are right behind the Profs. Junior Derek White explained how the Profs can become the top team. 

“We know that our next game, Salisbury, is going to be a hard one because they are a very physical and conditioned team,” White said. “So, we just need to learn to play better off each other. If someone is struggling, we will be there to help them and tell them what is wrong. We just got to get the team unity together. I think we can overcome Salisbury.” 

After this match, the Profs will have another match on Thursday, which is the rescheduled James Madison University match from Oct. 1. This means the Profs are looking at a three-match week — Saturday at Salisbury, Thursday at James Madison University and next Saturday at home against West Chester University. 

The Profs will need to find time to heal since there are key players that are injured. This week will be a true test for the young team and how well they are conditioned. There are four games left in the regular season, and the team will need to prove in those last games how hungry they are for a win.

“We need to learn to play together. We are playing separate games and we need to work on unity,” White said. “The unity is right there and once we get going, I don’t think there is anybody that can stop us… I think we are more hungry for a win after this loss because this was a game that we definitely should have won. We knew that we could have won and that is going to drive us to push and push and not let this happen again.” 

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