THIS year sees the return of Aberystwyth men’s rugby union team, and with it comes the promise of a great year and a great season for the squad. And with the world cup kicking off on home soil, there has never been a better time to celebrate and enjoy this great game. The Men’s Rugby Union club has a long and rich tradition, being the oldest sporting club within the university, that stretches over more than 100 years. Taking this club into the new season to add to our proud history, AUMR have a brand new committee led by Seb Tuff as the President. With Owen Howells coming in as the 1st XV’s captain and Sean Maguire as the 2nd XV’s captain, the teams have strong leaders to take them into what is expected to be an undefeated season for both teams.
When Owen was asked what his goals were for the team this year, the Welshman said it was simply to ‘win as many games as possible, making the university proud, and build a positive reputation for the uni’s rugby team by mixing experience with flair, and a simple yet effective game plan’. The squad boasts depth at every position, with second row and back row having fierce competition for those starting 1st XV jerseys, every player will have to train hard and perform well in order to earn their place on either team. With Iwan Mullin returning on the back of an outstanding season, and retaining all of last years successful front row players, the squad will have a strong platform to play off of. This is without even taking into account the unknown talent that could come in to compete for these jerseys with this year’s group of Freshers, and with the loss of Zach Mayne in his ever present 13 shirt, an opportunity for someone to step up and make the outside centre jersey their own. The club is very excited to meet this year’s Freshers and welcome them into our rugby family as the future stars of Aberystwyth means rugby.
As a player myself, being a part of AUMR for the last 2 years has been the best experience of my life. From the moment you step onto the Blandolai fields for your first trials as a Fresher, you get a buzz of excitement at the prospect of playing for this team. You work your butt off for 2 hours, showing the old heads what you’ve got and what kind of player you are, and at the end of the session you are invited to your first ever rugby social with the team that is Family’s Night later on that day. You walk into Harleys with other first years who are very quickly your new best mates, where all the second and third years are waiting to meet you, get to know you and have a great night. The entire night is spent mingling Freshers with second and thirds years, quickly immersing you into the family that is AUMR, and helping you to quickly feel a part of the team. Nothing is better than coming to university where you most likely know no one, and you instantly have over 60 friends.
But the social life, as great as it is, is not the best part of being in this club. The feeling i got the first time I pulled on my playing shirt with the AUMR badge on my chest was one of the proudest moments I’ve ever had. It was an away cup game, and I came off the bench to play 30 minutes at Hooker. I loved every damned minute of it. I still get that excited every time I pull on the kit, and with this being my last season I cannot wait to leave everything I have on the pitch for this proud team.
The team will be training this year every Sunday afternoon and Monday evening, with all BUCS games on Wednesdays. Home games are played on Vicarage fields and Blandolai, with this years trials being held at Blandolai fields. Information on times and dates for all of this will be given out during Freshers’ Week. We will have a stall at the sports fair, so all Freshers are welcome to come along and ask us any questions they may have. The season kicks off Saturday the 26th, with a big Home game on vicarage fields against our varsity rivals, Bangor University, in the Swalec Bowl, kick off at 3pm, which will be followed by the England VS Wales game in the pool stages of the world cup later on that evening. Two massive games for Aberystwyth that day, so make sure to turn up and support our boys down at vicarage, and then head up to the Student Union bar for a few pints and enjoy the England vs Wales game.