Wisconsin takes on rugby in Argentina - Collegiate Rugby Championship
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Wisconsin takes on rugby in Argentina

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – May 5, 2017 – In preparation for their spring season and this year’s Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, the University of Wisconsin’s men’s rugby team went on tour in Argentina over spring break.

The team played a mixture of 7s and 15s during the March trip to Buenos Aires against a local university, a men’s U23 team and another men’s club.

“Argentina was fantastic. All of our previous tours have been to somewhere in Europe, so it was fun to go to a completely different culture and have the guys learn something absolutely new. The level of rugby in Argentina is very high and the style is very different so we learned a lot,” said Wisconsin’s Head Coach Nic Tyson.

The Midwestern-based school brought about 30 players for seven days. They travelled two hours via bus to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport where they flew to a layover in Dallas. The team stayed in the same hostel every night and allowed the players to have time to explore the city and surrounding areas in addition to their rugby obligations.

“It was a really, really amazing country. It’s really beautiful. It’s a little bit older of a city – it’s not as much modernized as America is. It’s not as wealthy of a city, but it’s really cool. The architecture is amazing and it was really cool to explore and see a new place where people live a lot differently than we live,” said Wisconsin’s Captain, Benjamin Lehrmann

Going on an annual spring break tour has become an expectation for the club at this point. The responsibility is placed on the Vice President of the team to plan for the following year. It alternates between a national and international trip every other year. Some of the destinations have included: Arkansas, the Carolinas, Georgia, Texas and France. Funding comes from a variety of sources like the school, alumni and selling raffle tickets.

However, with the annual trip, the team doesn’t have the money to bring everyone to the CRC, and selections occur during the spring to bring only 12 players along.

So far, a key test for everyone to prove themselves was the recent Big Ten Universities Rugby Conference, a USA Rugby Men’s Collegiate Division I-A event. The Wisconsin Badgers made it to the final but lost 12-7 against Ohio State. It was the first 7s match Wisconsin lost all spring.  To learn from the match, Coach Tyson reviewed the footage with the team this week.

With UW’s finals week starting Saturday, he’s given the team the week off for recovery and study purposes. When planning the season, Tyson had hoped to give the ruggers a week off about a month before the CRCs, and the exam period coincided perfectly.

“We never really get like, with rugby at least, treated like high-class athletes like we are at the CRCs. It’s a pretty crazy week. You get to use all the amazing facilities and get free food and stay in a nice hotel and all hang out with high level rugby players,” said Captain Lehrmann, in anticipation of their trip to Philadelphia in June.

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