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Thursday, June 1, 2023


UH men’s rugby is ready to take off under Mark Speer

The UH and Louisiana Lafayette rugby teams come together after a scrimmage. | Courtesy of Christian Glover

The UH and Louisiana Lafayette rugby teams come together after a scrimmage. | Courtesy of Christian Glover

UH men’s rugby club is fighting for its place among UH sports. While currently an intramural club, the team hopes to become an officially sponsored UH sport and represent the school in the very near future at the highest levels. 

On Sept. 11 Houston hosted Louisiana Lafayette in a scrimmage to prepare for Lone Star Conference play. 

In the scrimmage, UH looked promising and very well-conditioned, a welcome improvement to head adviser and coach Mark Speer from the past few seasons. 

“Fraternal. We played as one, 100 percent teamwork,” Speer said. “Our conditioning was great. A lot of players thought I was crazy, making them condition so much, but today they understood I’m trying to prepare them for the future.”

While pleased with the team’s performance, Speer knows the team has a long road ahead and many things to improve on. 

For one, Speer said he wants to see his team get lower in the scrum and really progress the ball forward. 

Speer takes the approach that the best way to beat the other team is by executing the fundamentals and letting the rest fall where it may. But there was more on Speer’s mind during the scrimmage than just ways for his team to improve.

Saturday’s scrimmage was more than simply a game of rugby, it was about community, one of the staples of the UH men’s rugby club.

Creating a welcoming environment open to anyone is the primary goal, as the team wants to spread their love of the sport with everyone holding hopes of growing their tight-knit community into a full-fledged organization. 

“Rugby is an elegant violence, played by gentlemen,” Speer said. “We are the good guy mafia, we practice together, we play together, we live together.” 

Despite being self-sufficient, receiving little financial support from the University, the UH men’s rugby club also extends hospitality to its opponents in hopes of forming an even bigger brotherhood within the rugby family all across the country.

This was evident at the postgame meal, shared between both UH and Louisiana Lafayette. Players from both schools ate and sang songs together, laughing and talking as if they hadn’t spent the last 90 minutes running over and through each other. 

Speer was blown away by the camaraderie shown between the two schools, giving high praise to the way the players of Louisiana Lafayette conducted themselves.

“Coach William of Louisiana Lafayette and his players were unbelievably cordial and congenial,” Speer said. “They showed the spirit of the game and camaraderie with us. It was a pleasure to watch an elegant violence between two teams and when the game was over the brotherhood of these two universities was marvelous.”

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