Like McArthur in the Philippines, the UC Davis Men’s Rugby Team have made a glorious return to the D1A rugby scene and with the inclusion of 3 players to the USA Rugby list of 2016-2017 All-Americans, the progress of the program is evident.
An in-depth interview with Club President Jacob Wright revealed the impact these players had on the team, the style of leadership they exhibited, and how they rose to the top in a sport that truly tests the grit of those playing it.
First on the list for the Aggies was Hooker Colten Collings. This 5th year rugger occupied what is arguably the toughest position on the pitch and remained a committed player all season. Colten, who started in all 12 games last year, was a devastating ball carrier and shed enough defender to make Marshawn Lynch envious. His unique style of combative ball carrying saw him dot down for 1 try against Chico State and 2 against fellow UC system rivals Santa Cruz. Likewise, on defense he made a name for himself as a poacher and exhibited a masterclass on wrestling possession away from opponents in midst of a ruck. According to Wright, Cole was “not afraid to make the touch choices” as a leader and further served the club as President for two years. As a collegiate crossover athlete, Wright was proud of the transition he saw in his teammate and Cole will be sorely missed in this upcoming season.
Next on our list of All-Americans was Flyhalf and reliable boot Joshua Farnsworth. Occupying a central role at the number 10 position, Josh contributed his extensive rugby experience to organizing the backline and acting as a model to some of the less experienced players in the squad. According to USA Rugby, Farnsworth earned 54 points last season for the Aggies most of them though some laser-guided kicking. Josh was a force to be reckoned with ball-in-hand and could slice up a defense like a surgeon’s scalpel only to swing it out wide to an onrushing teammate. This 5th year was also a leader off the field and during training sessions would push his comrades whether in the gym or on the field running sprints. According to the Club president, in a grudge match against a determined Chico State, Josh’s boot was pivotal in giving the Aggies those much needed points over their Northern California rivals and ultimately securing the win.
Last on our list of All-American Aggies is crossover-athlete Bradley Maples. As a freshman to Davis and rookie to the sport, not much was expected from Maples. After all, rugby is a sport that takes years of polishing, countless hours watching film, and gallons of protein smoothies before a player can have the physical power and skillset necessary to prove useful on the pitch. Suffice it to say, Maples proved all skeptics wrong as he powered over the tryline 6 times in the regular season and claimed 32 points for UC Davis. Displaying a mean sidestep, and the wheels to match it, Maples could turn defenders inside out and proved a potent force for the Aggies offense. Likewise, in a club already bursting at the seams with a proud tradition of colorful rugby songs, Maples contributed the memorable “Hey There Josephine” to help the squad get through a grueling training session at the UCD parking garage.
On behalf of all UCD Rugby alum, congratulation men for making the All-American list and doing the men’s club proud and Go Aggies.