Penn Hills’ Big Red Rugby building foundation for future

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Sunday, May 9, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Every match the Big Red Rugby club team plays is a learning experience.

After opening against a few clubs that were newer programs like Penn Hills’ squad, the Big Red took one on the chin against West Allegheny.

At an event hosted by Moon, the Big Red Rugby club fell to Indiana and West Allegheny.

“West Allegheny is going to the state championship in 15s,” coach Matt Rosemeyer said. “We played 7s that day. Indiana is also a well-established program.”

Playing programs with more experience has helped a group of Penn Hills students navigate through its first season. The Big Red have picked up wins against Moon and Central Catholic and hosted several home matches.

What has been most important to Rosemeyer is his team being able to do things based on instinct.

“Their rugby IQ is improving,” Rosemeyer said. “When you are learning a new game, you start out using 100% of your energy and getting 50% of the stuff done. The more they get used to the game and see what is going to happen two or three plays ahead.”

Rosemeyer and the coaching staff has spent a lot of time working on the game plan. With a lot of first-time players, the Big Red will have to rely on players who are still guessing what the right move should be.

“That’s one of the big takeaways for all of the coaches,” Rosemeyer said. “We explained a game plan at the beginning. We want the guys to understand what we are talking about, where we want them to be and what the different positions entail as far as who they are watching and where the gaps are in the defense.”

One nice thing for the Penn Hills team is they don’t have to worry about the sweat of a postseason chase. The Big Red are strictly focused on development.

“What we’re working with is the teams that aren’t going to the state championships is to try and get a bigger event for the end of the year,” Rosemeyer said. “We’re working with Central Catholic on that, and they are supposed to host it.”

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