The sun shines down on the pitch. Sweat rolls off the players’ backs, the air thick with anticipation and energy. The ball is kicked off, and the rugby game begins.
P.I.T.S (Piedmont International Touring Side) Rugby has started its season again for the 38th time since 1979, and it is still going strong.
The team is off to a bit of a rough start as they are 1-3 on the season so far, senior captain Emmet Smith said.
The team only has five returning players out of a team of 18 this season.
“It’s an almost entirely new roster, guys who have never played rugby before,” Smith said.
In rugby there are 15 players on the field at any given time, and P.I.T.S has an 18-man team.
“They’re all supreme athletes,” Smith said. “But as a team we’re just not that coordinated I think. Guys are still grasping the fundamentals, learning how to play the game, learning the flow.”
One of the new players is junior William Robison.
“It’s hard being a first-year player — I barely know the rules — but I use my mentality and physicality from football to be a dominant defensive anchor,” Robison said.
The team has not played together for very long, but they mesh well together, Robison said.
“My favorite thing is how tight we bond together, and how fun it is to play with the boys,” Robison said.
Freshman Patch Selna is the only freshman on the team.
“Honestly I fit in pretty well with the group of guys that we have, and being a freshman hasn’t really had any effect on my experience with the team,” Selna said.
The team is very tight knit, Selna said.
“We all are pretty close, so it’s easy playing together,” Selna said. “It’s really fun to do something you love with great people around you.”
The team has played the toughest teams in their league so far; bigger, high school funded teams. P.I.T.S is not run through Piedmont High Smith said.
“I think it’s going to go much better now that we have gotten these games out of the way,” Smith said. “We’ll be playing people more at our level now, and I think we can really run some guys over going forward.”
As season goes, the team is looking to start winning more games, and to just have fun, Smith said.
“We’re still taking players, we are always taking players,” Smith said.