Shamrock Rugby fundraising for trip to Tropical 7s

Published by , Author: Brendan Howe - Rocket Contributor, Date: October 31, 2017
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The Shamrock Rugby club is currently fundraising for a trip to Orlando, Florida during which it will take part in the Tropical 7s tournament. The majority of participating teams reside in the D-1 level, but the team was offered an invite in early October.
The tournament, which is in its second year of existence and is sanctioned by America’s governing body of rugby, USA Rugby, will take place on March 30 and 31 of 2018 at the Omni Championsgate Resort. Contestants in this past year’s event included the University of Florida, the University of Central Florida, and Florida International University.
Senior Piers Giles, the captain of the club’s 7s team, expressed the team’s reaction to being welcomed to this tournament. “We’re ecstatic [about our invitation to the tournament]. This is not something we took lightly at all, because of the caliber of the teams that we are going to be playing, obviously it’s quite a big deal,” he said.
Without university support, the players have had to pack into cars to travel to away games, pay for uniforms and equipment out of their own pockets, and do without a home field. Despite these obstacles, the student-run team has remained largely successful, even to the point of gaining recognition for a significant tournament.
“For us to be, now, without funding, and still going to other [teams’] homes and being competitive,” Giles said. “The other team at the end of the game is saying, “Wow, we just played Shamrock rugby”, that’s just the greatest feeling in the world.”
They team embraces its independence and its members share and combine their experiences and knowledge to grow together.
“The seniors implement to the younger guys what they’re going to be implementing when they’re captains or they’re seniors,” said senior Andrew Gaudish, the selector of the 7s team. “As they grow, their minds grow and they learn more about the sport and they watch film, they just take that into their own perspectives and teach it […] We’re able to depend on each other.”
To cover, among other things, airfare, hotel costs, and maintaining a healthy diet for the ten players that will travel, the team’s goal is to collect at least $6000 for its five-day stay in Florida. It is using a GoFundMe Account, which is promoted by its social media profiles, to try to raise the funds needed. They also hope to receive help through sponsorships from local businesses. Upon the afternoon they arrive, the players will also attend a combine, or skills challenge, that scouts will be overlooking. They also plan on preparing, studying film, and working out before beginning tournament play the next day.
Gaudish sees the tournament as an opportunity for the team’s development. “As the sport is growing, this is a stepping stone for us,” he stated. “It’s the first time we’ve ever done this, we’re going to expect it for next year and maybe even to look into things beyond it.”

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