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GSU rugby club ready for season

    Georgia Southern fans will be able to cheer on one of their own in a full Division I Rugby season starting this month.
    GSU Rugby is in a new Division I conference that consists of 11 teams in the southeast: Arkansas State, GSU, Kennesaw State, Life University, Middle Tennessee State, Emory, Central Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, South Florida, and Florida State.
    The first game is scheduled against Middle Tennessee State at 1 p.m.  Saturday at the GSU Rugby pitch, which is located at the RAC fields next to the by-pass. You can’t miss it with the H-shaped goal post.
    Rugby is played as a team whereby the effort of each player counts and the pace of the game can be controlled with the ball unlike other games.
    It is played on a field, called a pitch, which is longer and wider than a football field, more like a soccer field. A typical pitch is 100 meters long and 70 meters wide. Additionally, there are 10-22-meter end zones, called the in-goal area, behind the goalposts.
    The goalposts are H-shaped crossbars located on the goal line. Yes you read that right, in play, on the goal line!
    All players, regardless of position, are able to run, pass, kick and catch the ball. A rugby match consists of two 40-minute halves. There are four ways for a team to score points. Five points are awarded to a team for touching the ball down in the other team’s in-goal area, which is called a try. Following a try, two points are awarded for a successful kick, called a conversion, through the goalposts.
    Following a major rule violation, the kicking team, if in range, has the option of penalty kick. Three points are awarded for a successful penalty kick. Three points are awarded for a successful drop kick. A drop kick may be taken from anywhere on the field at any time during play.
    Rugby is one of two new sports to be introduced in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
    Rugby is a great spectator sport. It's got the foot skills of soccer and the collision of the gridiron.
    GSU Rugby’s home schedule is as follows: Middle Tennessee, Jan. 28; Kennesaw State, Feb. 11; Emory, March 3.

    Russ Rozelle is GSU's rugby coach.