Rugby to start season Sunday at Maryland

Despite the absence of center Dominic Mauer, the BG rugby club will play the 2013 spring season in a tour of the Big Ten conference.

Mauer will not be playing this season due to his studying abroad at the University of Rome. He accounted for 160 points this past season.

It’s not going to be easy to replace the reigning MVP, but Sam Polzin looks to fill that void on the field and will be back at wing for the Falcons.

BG also has a newcomer in the lineup. Lucas Smith is a transfer from Ohio State and will be the replacement for Mauer at center.

“As long as the team stays disciplined and plays tough BG rugby, they will have no problem doing well in the national tournament,” Mauer said. “It’s possible I could fly back for the national tournament but still not sure at this point.”

In the fall, the Falcons played a majority of Mid-American Conference teams. This season will be different, as they will have to play a few familiar foes from the Big Ten.

The new members of the Big Ten this year are Maryland and Rutgers. Maryland finished No. 2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference in the fall and will be playing its first match of the season against Virginia Tech the day before they meet BG.

Rutgers finished No. 9 out of 11 teams in the Empire Conference this past season. The Scarlet Knights should not be overlooked, as they played in a tough conference. Plus they are most notable for the first intercollegiate football game in 1869 against Princeton in which the match was played with rugby’s rules.

Ohio State and Indiana finished as co-champions of the Big Ten.

BG has beaten the Buckeyes and the Hoosiers five times each in the past five years. If the Falcons were a member of the Big Ten, the team would have been the Big Ten champs every year since 2007 with a 6-0 record each of those years against Big Ten schools.

Michigan State is another school on the schedule this season, and they have a story of futility against the Falcons. The Spartans haven’t beaten BG since Richard Nixon was president in the 1970’s.

The regular season will wrap up at home against Central Michigan. The Chippewas were defeated by the Falcons 73-20 in the fall.