June 2, 2013
USI Men’s Rugby Club sent four seniors to play with Morris Rugby Corporation in Morris County New Jersey in attempt to further develop our players' skills and relationships with rugby clubs across the nation.
USI's administration helped get the four seniors to New Jersey by providing funds for gasoline expenses. The seniors included: Adam Kunkle, Jordan Smithson, Aaron Gehlhausen, and Tyler Pipes.
All four seniors participated in two practices with Morris Rugby and ultimately played for Morris Rugby’s B side team in the 2013 Morris Rugby’s Jersey Cup Invitational.
“It was an amazing experience that all of us really enjoyed and are glad that we could be a part of,” Aaron Gehlhausen said. “I think we learned a lot from playing and practicing for a club that has a more developed program than ours, things like how to get the most out of practices. I think for [Tyler] Pipes and I who are returning this season, we’ll be able to take the things we learned from Morris back to our club to advance ourselves even further this coming year.”
The invitational consisted of each participating team playing in three games over the course of two days. This year, the 2013 Morris Rugby’s Jersey Cup Invitational was held over May 18 and 19.
“The level of experience was a huge difference for us USI players. The guys on Morris have been playing rugby for years and they are at a different level than our program,” Tyler Pipes said. “The insight from participating at that level of rugby is very beneficial and will help with building our program. To have our players play with Morris Rugby is something we definitely want to keep doing, and I think playing in this invitational is a step in that direction.”
USI Rugby’s head coach, Kurt Murrell, also attended this outing with Morris Rugby. Kurt Murrell was a part of Morris Rugby from 2000 through 2007. During that time he played for the club and coached for them.
“One of the most important things that comes out of this experience for our players is that our players are coming back to our club knowing that they can play at a more elevated level than the one they are at now,” Kurt Murrell said. “That will give them more confidence when they come back and play for our club. Hopefully we’ll be able to send more of our players to play with Morris in the future.”
This is the first time that USI Rugby has participated in training and playing with Morris Rugby, something that both clubs are open to continuing in the future.