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CSULB women’s rugby team brings home the gold

The 23-member team, which was created in 2011, wins the Scrum by the Sea tournament.

Courtesy of Brooke Basinger

Courtesy of Brooke Basinger

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The Cal State Long Beach women’s rugby team has started making a name for itself after returning home as winners of the annual Scrum by the Sea Tournament, hosted by University of California, San Diego.

Although rugby has been a CSULB club sport since the men’s rugby team was created in 1974, the women’s team remains fairly new, according to Ashley Ramirez, president of the CSULB women’s rugby team.

Ramirez said the team was created two years ago and that this is the second consecutive year the team has competed in the tournament.

Sam Inocente, a senior women’s gender and sexuality studies major and vice president of the CSULB women’s rugby team, said she felt that as a new team, it had to earn respect from other teams.

“A lot of people, especially [from Arizona State University] were like, ‘Who is CSULB? They’re nothing.’ But then we ended up beating them,” Inocente said. “It’s kind of cool that other teams don’t know about us, but once we get on the field and we play … [we’re] a force to be reckoned with.”

Ramirez said during the first several months of the team’s creation, it mainly played “social” games and scrimmages with other schools.

The team officially gained recognition in Southern California rugby in 2012 after the team’s inaugural season, according to the team’s profile on usarugby.org.

“It was funny because we were debating whether or not we thought we were ready to compete in a competitive [game],” Ramirez said. “As I filled out the information to enter us, I was telling my coach I was worried we didn’t have as [many] players as last year … She told me that if we lose, we lose, but we’ll learn from playing good teams.”

Ramirez said that this year, the team members did not expect to win and instead set their hearts on just having fun with the sport.

“We didn’t have any expectations; we didn’t worry if we were going to lose,” Ramirez said. “This time, we just wanted to play, and that’s what happened. None of us were nervous.”

Inocente said that head coach Brooke Basinger and two assistant coaches have helped the team to ready themselves for competition.

“[Basinger] helped us go from being rookies that didn’t know how to throw a ball to having more finesse in the sport,” Inocente said. “I think it’s really awesome that we have her, and our other coaches take their time to help us, and I know they enjoy it.”

According to Ramirez, the team is comprised of about 23 women but is looking to recruit new members.

“The men’s team … have been around for a long time,” Ramirez said. “They’re really good, they travel to Italy and play other teams. That’s what we want to do.”

Inocente said students interested in joining the women’s rugby team can attend practice on any Tuesday or Thursday from 4:45 to 7 p.m. or contact her via email at [email protected].

The rugby team will also host a “Rugby 101” session for those interested in learning the basic components of the sport on Saturday at 10 a.m. on the Rugby Field adjacent to the track.

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