UW-Madison Men’s Rugby Newsletter – February 2018

Player of the Month: Matt Morris

by John Higgins

Position: Forward
Year: Sophomore
Hometown: Duluth, MN
Major: Nursing
Future Goals: Go to medical school to study physical medicine and rehab (Physiatrist)

Why did you decide to join UW-Madison Men’s Rugby Club?
I joined this past fall because I love being physical and delivering violent hits, and I knew rugby was a great way to remain active and meet new people. This also got me away from my rigorous course work and gave me something to do besides studying.

What is your favorite memory from rugby thus far?
After completing my first 15’s season, I had a great time at the end of the year banquet. After the banquet had concluded, there was a get together at a rugger’s house, where I unfortunately got chocolate syrup poured all over me by another player.

What is your mindset on rugby Saturdays?
I go into every game trying to get as many tackles as possible. I want to make sure they are violent and good, hard hits.

What is your number one rugby goal?
My goal for my rugby career here at UW-Madison is to beat Indiana.

Alumni of the Month: Paul “Guido” Stroede

by Henry Dean

If you’ve played rugby in the Madison area, chances are you’ve met the bearded wonder that is Guido (picture below, left side). He discovered rugby here at UW and never looked back, going on to play on Wisconsin Men’s Select sides, two National Championship teams at the Wisconsin Rugby Club, and coaching at the high school and collegiate levels. He’s given back heavily to the sport, promoting and teaching the game to high schoolers out at the Middleton Area Rugby Club and on the Wisconsin High School Select Side. Pound for pound, one of the best ruggers you’ll ever meet, I present Paul Stroede:

Any notable memories made (on or off the pitch) with UW Rugby club?
My favorite memory of UW Rugby may be finding it and my 1st match. BW3 had just opened on State Street and as I was putting a few down the bartender brought up rugby. I stated I had no idea what that was but, hell, I’d give it a shot. He stated something to the effect that I was too small. I was pissed and borrowed a friend’s bike and went out by Picnic Point, failing to find the fields my 1st time. The next time I did find training and loved the hell out of it. That Saturday I proceeded to play a B-side match at wing, caught a deep kick, ran it back until some opposition came and ran me out of bounds. I was scolded quite heavily, learned the rules, got pissed and tackled quite a few guys. After
the match they asked me to move to flanker, which was awesome.

Any advice you’d give to all the ruggers out there?
My advice to any rugger is to always try to follow some deep instinct as to what you want to do. I may not have known it at the time, but in 1994, that was rugby for me.

Which of your accomplishments in rugby stand out most to you?
Some cool accomplishments for me were being able to come back to UW and coach the sevens program. The 1st ever Big Ten Championships were held at the Wisconsin Rugby Sports Complex that 1st year and as big underdogs winning the Big Ten Title was kick ass! Following it up with another Championship at Ohio State was unbelievable. Those times and the players who won those, I will never forget.

Thanks for the great memories UW Rugby!

Coach’s Corner

by Scooter Adlington

As a new season approaches, so does a new coaching staff. Here’s a look at the coaches for this upcoming Spring season:


Scott “Scooter” Adlington:
Scooter has been named Head Coach for 2018 and is a Level 300 rugby coach who grew up in Australia playing for the New South Wales Far North Coast before playing for premier clubs, Sydney University and the GPS club in Brisbane as well as Pontypool in Wales. He also played for the touring Potoroos 7’s team. He is a sports science graduate and his coaching career has also seen him coach Baltimore – Chesapeake RFC and the Chicago Lions.

Fred Waititi:
Fred is the Badger’s Assistant Coach. A native of Kaikohe, New Zealand, where he played Provincial rugby for Northland, Fred led the Gentlemen of Aspen to national titles in both 15’s and 7’s. Waititi has also coached extensively on three different continents including for the 2017 Sacramento ProRugby team and is a widely respected skills coach.

Cullen Lantz:
Cullen has been an assistant forwards coach for UW-Madison since the fall of 2014. He started out playing rugby for Madison East High School and then played for 4 years at UW-Madison and graduated in 2006. At various times and weights, Cullen has played lock, prop, and eight man for his college side. He still enjoys playing touch rugby in the summers and the occasional social 7’s or 10’s tournament.

Jeremy Roberts:
Jeremy started playing rugby his freshman year at UW. He had a background of soccer and wrestling and was picked up by his first coach, the late John Sanders. Jeremy went on to play and contest for national championships with the Wisconsin Rugby Club playing center and fly half.

Grant Thomas:
Starting his sports coaching career as a coach of a DII NJCAA nationally ranked soccer team in 2006-2008, Grant then played for the Wisconsin Rugby club from 2008-2018, which won the USA national championship in 2013 and was runner up in 2012 and 2015. He went through a rare transition starting as a wing when the WRC was in DI before moving to hooker. He completed his USA rugby coaching Level 200 in 2012 and became a USA Rugby referee in 2015. Grant then coached the Madison Minotaur’s for 3 years from 2009-2012 and he now works for the UW Athletic Department in their sports science department.

Badgers Off the Field

by Mark Hermann

Last week some Badger Ruggers took to the frozen Lake Mendota to help UW Rec Sports prepare for their annual pond hockey tournament. Events like this help promote the club and work at our goal of achieving 300+ hours of community service. They players shoveled snow of the ice, scraped away any uneven surfaces, and helped flood the surface of the rinks. The club has a lot of volunteering in store this semester. We are finishing up the last couple games volunteering for Wisconsin Men’s Basketball concession stands and are working on setting up regular shifts to help out a local food pantry. Stay tuned!

(left to right: Jacob Droezler, Mark Hermann, Sam Grindel, Henry Hamilton)

News from Madison United Rugby!

Madison United Rugby (MUR) is an organization here in the Madison community that is dedicated to supporting and developing women’s and men’s rugby of all levels – senior, college, high school and middle school. MUR started in 2008 as a way to build the sport of rugby through building connections and organizations with Madison rugby clubs. It is comprised of a family of 10 local rugby clubs, including your very own UW Men’s Rugby Club. Madison United Rugby recently launched a regular newsletter, much like ours, to help their community grow and connect.

Check out their newsletter and subscribe!

UW-Madison Quicklinks

Check out our:
NEW WEBSITE: http://www.badgersrugby.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BadgerRugby/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/badgerrugby_uw
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/badger_rugby/?hl=en
Sustainability Fund: https://rugbymadison.sportngin.com/register/form/967515806

Mark Hermann
UW Rugby Communications Chair
Cell: 262.709.6315
On Wisconsin!
University of Wisconsin Men’s Rugby Club
2000 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53715

Madison Minotaurs Rugby 101 on Feb. 3

Via Madison Minotaurs:

Got a New Year’s resolution to get or keep in shape? Want to make some friends? Then the Madison Minotaurs Rugby 101 is for you! We’ll be helping newbies learn the basics of the game and vets get ready for our spring season. All you need is comfortable gym clothes, water, and a great attitude. We’ll be hosting this at The Goodman Community Center gym.

All ages, body types, fitness levels, and experience welcome! RSVP on Facebook or e-mail us at madisonminotaurs@gmail.com if you need more information.

Women’s Rugby 2017 Fall Season Wrap Up

Via Wisconsin Women’s Rugby:

This season has been one of incredible growth and improvement. Though it’s only our second year back in DI, we made it all the way to the Midwest Final! We also welcomed a new coach, Justin O’Connor, to our ranks and his guidance and experience have certainly helped us to “up our game” and be competitive in DI. We ended our season at 3-3 for league play with 2 wins against the Minnesota Valkyries and Chicago Women. In an effort to get even more playing time at the DI level we invited the Denver Black Ice, a fellow DI team, to play us at the end of October. It was a great opportunity to play a new team and make some new friends. Although we lost our Midwest Final match against the Detroit Women (who doesn’t love a good rematch?!) we are immensely proud of our vets and rookies alike for a fun and hard-fought season!

Photo of WWRFC team November 2017
WWRFC Team photo after the Midwest Final Nov. 11, 2017

As a team, we recognize that we are part of a community and, as such, we have been making a greater effort to give back through volunteering. In mid-October, several of our members participated in the GSAFE Trick or Trot 5k Run/Walk, benefiting GSAFE: a local organization that works to make schools and the community more inclusive for LGBTQIA+ youth. We also hosted a food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank at our friendly match against the Denver Black Ice. All told, we donated 217lbs of food and toiletries!! In 2018, we plan on joining forces with our friends at Athletico to volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank to help with sorting donations (or however we can lend a hand)! It is our sincere hope that the WWRFC can forge strong and long-lasting relationships with groups who work hard to make our community better.

Photo of WWRFC players at GSAFE walk
GSAFE Trick or Trot

Looking forward to seeing/hearing from you in 2018!

By Alayna Hronek
WWRFC Communications Officer

Local Rugby Teams Showcase Olympic Sport

Madison-area Rugby Clubs Start Fall Team Practices This Month

August 11, 2016

Jake Winkler, Executive Director
Cell Phone: 920-342-7675

Logo of Madison United RugbyMADISON, Wis. — Olympic rugby is wowing new fans around the world this week with its speed, athleticism, and hard-hitting action.

With medal rounds for this exciting Olympic sport wrapping up today though, new rugby fans in the Madison region won’t have to wait long to see more rugby. And no need to turn on the television or computer.

Madison’s local competitive rugby teams host their annual Stuart Daily Memorial Rugby Tournament this Saturday at the Wisconsin Rugby Sports Complex, 4064 Vilas Road, in Cottage Grove, Wis. Matches will kick off around 9 a.m. and continue throughout the day, followed by a pig roast for attending teams and fans.

“It’s been amazing to see our sport played at the Olympics this week and how excited people are about rugby around the world,” said Jake Winkler, Executive Director for Madison United Rugby. “We hope new fans in the area will stop by on Saturday to see live matches and learn more about rugby.”

Madison United Rugby (MUR) is a non-profit community organization that oversees nine competitive rugby teams in our area for adults (men/women), university (men/women), and high school boy’s teams, in addition to co-ed youth flag rugby. MUR is also launching a new girls high school team in Middleton and growing middle school tackle rugby in partnership with the four high school boys teams for this spring.

Two of MUR’s adult teams – the Wisconsin Rugby Club (men) and Wisconsin Women’s Rugby – have additionally won USA Rugby national championships in recent years, while the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s men’s rugby club won the Big Ten Universities Rugby Championship in 2014.

“Fall practices for several of our teams are kicking off in the next few weeks,” Winkler added. “It’s a great time for new players interested in learning more about the sport to join and play with our adult and collegiate teams for their fall seasons.”

For more information on this Saturday’s tournament or upcoming men’s and women’s rugby practices, please contact Jake Winkler at MURugbyDirector@rugbymadison.org or 920-342-7675.

Madison United Rugby hires Executive Director

Photo of Jake Winkler
Jake Winkler

Madison, Wis. — The Madison United Rugby Board of Directors is pleased to announce the hiring of Jake Winkler as the organization’s first-ever Executive Director.

Winkler, a local rugby athlete, referee and former technology project management professional, began his duties this week for Madison United Rugby (MUR) through outreach to stakeholder groups in the greater Madison community.

“We’re excited to welcome Jake as our new MUR Executive Director and look forward to the energy and focus he’ll bring to this new leadership role,” said MUR Board President Skip Heffernan. “Jake will be leading our efforts to provide more administrative support for our members and helping MUR to grow youth rugby in our region.”

Winkler, who formerly worked in technical services and project management at Epic, is a longtime member of the local rugby community as a player, team administrator, and referee.

He captained the Wisconsin Rugby Club to win the 2013 USA Rugby Division 2 Men’s National Championship and played a key role in the team’s other recent national qualifications. Winkler also serves as a local Crossfit coach for adults and youth, and he mentors youth through Madison Urban Ministry. He is a 2007 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with dual degrees in Ecology/Evolution and the History & Philosophy of Science.

“I am eager to help MUR grow and thrive in the greater Madison community,” Winkler said. “It’s been motivating to meet some of our local stakeholders this week, in addition to digging into the plans and ideas that our MUR Board of Directors and teams have for the future of our organization. Their excitement is contagious!

“I’m ready to start building greater connections for MUR with local businesses, school districts, and community service groups. The positive and value-laden culture of rugby with its emphasis on respect and acceptance, especially here in our region, has many benefits that I believe will be welcomed by new fans and supporters.”

For more information, contact Jake Winkler at MURugbyDirector@gmail.com.


Madison United Rugby (MUR) is a 501(c)3 non-profit community organization that supports nine adult, collegiate and youth men’s and women’s rugby teams, in addition to youth flag rugby.

The mission of MUR is to support education, health, wellness, and innovative community services through the culture of rugby. The home of MUR is the Wisconsin Rugby Sports Complex and future Heritage Center, one of the nation’s top rugby facilities and a thriving community hub serving the greater Madison region. Learn more about our thriving community at http://rugbymadison.org/.

Wisconsin Women advance back to 2016 USA Rugby national D2 final

Photo of Wisconsin Women's Rugby team photo May 2016 at USA Rugby East playoffs

Via Wisconsin Women’s RFC Website:

The Wisconsin Women’s Rugby team won both its matches at the USA Rugby National Playoffs in Pittsburgh, Pa., this past weekend, May 21-22.

Photo of Wisconsin Women's Rugby players smiling in a selfieWith the two wins, Wisconsin now advances to the USA Rugby Senior Club Division 2 Women’s National Championship on Saturday, June 4 in Glendale, Colorado.

As the East Champions, Wisconsin will play the West Champions, the Life West Gladiatrix from California. News recap here from The Breakdown.

Wisconsin defeated the Charlotte (NC) Women, 67-19, on Saturday, May 21 in the national Round of 8. News recap here from the Breakdown.

In the national Final 4, Wisconsin defeated the Harrisburg (PA) Harlots, 31-17, on Sunday, May 22, in very poor, muddy field conditions to advance to their second-straight USA Rugby National Championship. Wisconsin is the reigning 2015 Division 2 National Champions.

Wisconsin Rugby Teams Finish 1st, 2nd in USA Rugby National Championships

In a historic feat for Madison United Rugby, both the Wisconsin Rugby Club men’s team and Wisconsin Women’s Rugby team qualified to the 2015 USA Rugby Senior Club National Championships in Glendale, Colorado, June 13-14.

With dual Midwest Championships and Eastern Regional Championships, the teams capped highly successful seasons in Colorado. The Wisconsin Women defeated the Sacramento (CA) Amazons 38-23 on Sunday, June 14 for the club’s first-ever national title. The Wisconsin men finished the season as national runners-up after a tough 43-24 loss to the Life West Gladiators (Hayward, CA).

Here are the match recaps via USA Rugby:

Life West, Wisconsin, Wichita Claim Club Championships

Erik Geib // Photo JD Black
Monday, June 15, 2015

Photo of Wisconsin Rugby Club men vs. Life West Gladiators at USA Rugby D2 National Final

GLENDALE, Colo. – In just their second year in existence, the Life West Gladiators are USA Rugby National Champions. The club was able to pull away from perennial contenders Wisconsin Rugby to capture the 2015 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Men’s Club Division II National Championship by a score of 43-24.

Setting the tone early with the performance of the club’s pre-match haka, Life West came flying out of the gate to put in an early try by flanker Akuila Uaisele in the third minute. After a Wisconsin penalty kick, the Gladiators were quick to strike again through the hands of Mose Fualaau, which gave Life West a 14-3 lead after just 14 minutes.

Wisconsin, however, was not without fight as it began to settle in to its pattern. The men from Madison were appearing in their fourth overall national championship final, and were in their third championship match in just four years. A pair of its own tries through winger Andrew Norton and prop Chuahy Flavio put Wisconsin ahead 17-14 at the 26th minute.

Not to be deterred, it wasn’t long before Life West regained control of the match. Tongan National Team star Nili Latu led the Gladiators back into the match with his power and leadership, and Life West was able to put in two more tries before halftime via sensational winger Leti Latu, giving them a 26-17 cushion as they wandered into the locker room.

A physical second half saw a long scoreless streak before Devereaux Ferris broke scoring open once again in the 62nd minute, scoring a marvelous try. Leki Latu would soon thereafter add his third try of the match, putting the Gladiators in charge 38-17 with just 10 minutes remaining.

A late Wisconsin rally included another try by Andrew Nelson, but Life West was quick to retaliate with Leki Latu’s fourth try of the match, putting the final score at 43-24.

The Smith & Forge Most Valuable Player of the match was Nili Latu, who was an unstoppable force from the #8 position.

Wisconsin vs. Sacramento

Photo of Wisconsin Women's Rugby captains Jessica Burda and Katie Odens accept the 2015 USA Rugby D2 National Championship trophyJustine Wypych’s four tries helped lead Wisconsin over Sacramento Amazons in the Women’s Division II Final. Despite Sacramento taking an early lead in the game, the Wypych led Wisconsin women took home the hardware with a 38-23 win.

The scoring was started by the Amazons as they scored via penalty kick in the 3rd minute. Both sides would go back and forth in the games first ten minutes as neither could seem to break through the other’s defense.

At one point however, the light switch was flipped for the Wisconsin Women as they began to pull away thanks to strong play from Wypych. Showing great speed, Wypych broke to the outside to grab her first try, and then quickly scored her second only eight minutes later.

Denita Arens would help bring the Amazons back when she would also score twice within minutes of each other. By the end of the half, the Wisconsin women held a 19-13 lead in what looked to be a closely contested match.

The second half opened with strong defense from both sides. Wisconsin would begin to pull away nearly 15 minutes into the half as Kris Peterson scored her first try and upped the lead to 26-18 following the conversion.

Both Peterson and Wypych would both follow up the scoring by notching their second and fourth try, respectively, and effectively put the game away for Wisconsin. Sacramento would go on to score twice in the final ten minutes, but ultimately could not pull off the comeback when the final horn sounded.

Read the full article here …

MUR Receives Grant For Youth Flag Rugby Scholarships

The Madison Area Sports Commission is supporting Madison United Rugby’s 2014 MU Youth Flag Program with a grant of $1,125, which will provide fifteen scholarships! This generous sponsorship will guarantee every interested player will be able to join our growing program. This year we are adding a fourth location in McFarland to the Middleton, South Madison, and East Madison sites. Registration and Waiver Forms are now available under the FORMS tab. The $75 fee includes rugby shorts and tee shirt as part of the sixteen session schedule. UW Men’s and Women’s Rugby Team
players will again form the core of our coaching staff.

We welcome everyone who will be entering grades 3-8 next fall! Please direct questions to bhill@rugbymadison.org or leave a message at 608-320-3447 and we’ll get back to you asap.