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Sunday, September 24, 2023


Q&A: Rugby captain discusses season expectations


Ryan Becker returns as UH rugby’s team captain and will look to lead his team to victory in a new conference. | Courtesy of UH Rugby

After playing predominantly as the team’s fullback last year, senior Ryan Becker will be transitioning to scrumhalf for his fifth season.

Becker has made a reputation for himself as one of the fittest and most-talented athletes on the squad, repeatedly making plays for the club and scoring much-needed points in late-game situations. With a new conference, Becker will be looked at to lead the squad into the uncharted territory of Division I-A rugby.

The Cougar: Did you have any rugby experience before coming to the team?

Ryan Becker: I played all throughout high school for the Katy Barbarians. I loved it. We did really well. We had a lot of people from Katy, Cinco and Taylor, so our team was filled with very solid athletes, and our coaches were great. They really taught us how to play rugby and understand the game.

TC: What were your overall thoughts on last season, both during 15-man and then in seven-man games?

RB: We were really improving. In 15’s we did a lot better. We had great coaching, good numbers, even though I was hurt for most of 15’s. Sevens we dominated. We did amazing. We won our two tournaments and only lost in our final game because we were playing bad that day. Our seven’s season was awesome, and our 15’s season was really good as well.

TC: What was your reaction to the news that the team was joining the Red River Conference?

RB: I was excited. I was so pumped to see how this team has been developing and growing, and we finally got recognized for it because we got bumped up to Division-I. So I’m excited to see what this season has in store for us.

TC: Who will be the toughest opponents this season, and what does the team need to do to compete against the larger schools?

RB: I think Louisiana State University. I heard they were ranked 14th in the nation, so that’s going be a hard fought game. We’re going to have to work hard. Really get drilled into the focus of what 15’s is about and our game plan. Work on all our set pieces and conditioning.

TC: What are your thoughts on Coach Daniel Whetzel coming to the team, and what do you think he will bring to the squad?

RB: I’m excited about Coach Whetzel. He’s played higher up, so he knows what he’s talking about. He knows what he’s doing. I played with him a little over the summer. He’s a good guy, and I’m excited to see his coaching abilities.

TC: What has the club been doing to recruit new members?

RB: Going to as many events as we can. Getting bake sales set up, setting up tables and getting flyers out. Really just talking to people.

TC: What are your personal goals for this season, and what do you think the team will accomplish in its debut season?

RB: My personal goal is to lead the team well as team captain and just play well. For the team, honestly, I really want to beat Texas A&M University and the University of Texas, like extremely bad. If we could just beat all the teams in Texas, I’ll be a happy man.

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