Bryn Chivers joins Augustana Women’s Rugby as head coach, hoping to bring the team a national title
Rugby is becoming a more popular sport throughout the U.S., and Augustana is no exception. With a new head coach, they are ready to surpass their second place finish in the Great Plains League.
“The goal is to take the title away from the defending champions, Wayne State, who have won the league for the past nine years,” head coach Bryn Chivers said.
This is Chivers’ first season as the Augustana women’s rugby coach, but he brings experience from college and club teams both nationally and internationally, as well as having been the US U20 Women’s National Team head coach for several years. He believes being involved in a sport while attending college creates well-rounded people with both healthy bodies and minds.
“It really is a great sport for women,” Chivers said. “There is nothing quite like it. It is a team contact sport that challenges women physically and teaches them to be a team player.”
Rugby is the only full-contact team sport for women, and the players often leave the field more bruised than before the game.
“This is full-on tackle-the-player,” Chivers said. “It is like football, but we emphasize solid tackling skills and techniques over collisions of pads and helmets.”
Chivers began coaching in August and already sees improvement in the team.
“I am starting to see the difference in the decision making,” Chivers said. “We try to give the players as many tools as possible at practice, so that they are able to solve problems on their own during the games.
“It is like I work during the week and come game day I get to see the results of what we worked on. And then it is back to practice the next week to work some more.”
The team has 14 returning and 11 new players, several of which have never played rugby before joining the team this season.
“We are always looking for new players,” said Chivers. “We are a large coaching staff with myself and four assistant coaches so we are able to give new players plenty of individual attention.”
There are three international players amongst the 11 new players on the team. Sophomore Cathrine Brendstuen is one of them.
“I have no previous experience,” she said. “I just thought it looked fun and I wanted to try something new. It is a lot of fun and it is nice to be a part of a team.”
The team lost its previous game against South Dakota State University in Brookings last Saturday, but they will be working on improving what went wrong in that game before facing The University of South Dakota at 11 a.m. on Saturday in Vermillion, S.D.