Defending national title against Huskers

Darrin Barner, Guest Writer

This Homecoming weekend in Wayne will be a smashing hit, with two key rugby games on Saturday at the “House of Pain in Wayne” at the Wayne rugby park.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Huskers rugby will be in Wayne taking on the Lady Wildcats, who were last year’s national champions, and the men’s conference title is on the line when they take on fifth ranked South Dakota State.

The women are coming off a 22-19 win over Iowa State last Saturday, and the men knocked off Division I Nebraska Cornhusker men 29-20 in Lincoln.

The teams are starting to run on all cylinders, coming into this big Homecoming weekend with national playoff rankings and brack­eting on the outcome.

With both the women and men’s programs being ranked first and fifth in the United States, it is going to be a big weekend for rugby.

“The games are going to be very evenly matched. Both the Husker women and South Dakota State men are very physical and it will be a slob­ber knocker of a game,” rugby coach Darrin Barner said. “We have some serious freshmen that are ready to take the stage on an event of this nature, it will be a damn rough and tough game to bring out the best of both teams.

“We will need everyone there to get us home field advantage. That could be the difference in winning against these large programs.”

This will be the traditional migra­tion of wild sports fans making their way to the rugby pitch after the football game, with only a short five minute break between the men’s and women’s games.

WSC is running a new type of offense and it showed in last week’s game when the men’s team scored long touchdown runs versus UNL with 3 scores by Josh Scholl­meyer, along with Ben Vinkavich, Jovahnte Lewis and Mike Lloyd.

“We have a great off-campus rugby facility, and we know our student body will be out in an army force for these key match ups. The fans better wear seat belts in the bleachers, it’s going to be a rough game,” Barner said.

The men will kick off at 3 p.m. and women at 4:30 p.m. on Sat­urday at the Wayne Rugby Park, which is located two blocks south of Shopko and McDonald’s at the city’s Summer Sports Complex.