Assistant Sports Editor
Even at Springfield College, where athletics are practiced regularly and seem to be a top priority of most students on campus, it is unusual to see a high school soccer player as a teammate of a high school football player who was recruited to play for SC. Maybe they would find themselves in a PEAC together or competing on an intramural team with one another. For rugby players Jared Collinson and Vini Daley, that is far from the case, as two entirely different paths have led them to be roommates and teammates for the club rugby team at SC.
Collinson and Daley combine to make a dominant duo on the rugby field. Their paths to the sport that many misunderstand or are unaware of are very different, but all that matters now is that they are getting a chance to show their true skills together on the field. Daley was a standout high school football player and was recruited to play for the Pride upon arriving on campus as a freshman. A few injuries and a semester off from school to regroup mentally left him ineligible for varsity sports when he made his way back to school. The ineligibility may have been a blessing in disguise, because it was then that Daley turned to rugby, for what he thought would be a short time, until a football opportunity opened back up. Now, Daley is hoping to make the USA 7’s Rugby Team and considers rugby his favorite sport.
Collinson, in contrast, was not a high school football player but instead a soccer player. He was introduced to rugby during his freshman year and has been playing the game ever since. Soccer and football are so different, but in a way, the two come together to form the sport of rugby, much like Daley and Collinson come together to form a connection on the field. Rugby has the nonstop action and conditioning of soccer, but also includes similar concepts and the hard hitting of football.
This summer, the 7’s rugby team that Collinson and Daley played for shocked the northeast and qualified for nationals. They played well throughout the national tournament and came in seventh place out of the entire country. Collinson, in particular, excelled during the game play, where he scored the most tries on the team and led the team to a huge upset over a team full of collegiate All-Americans. It was then that the USA 7’s coach contacted Collinson’s coach about bringing him out to Chula Vista, Cali., for a tryout at the Olympic training center.
Collinson and Daley are both hoping to be a part of the country’s rugby team for the 2016 Olympics. They seem to be teammates who understand each other very well, and they routinely join the same rugby teams. After all, they are roommates that work out and train together, so it makes sense for them to be together on the field.
“We live together and train aside from practice often, so we get to discuss strategies and philosophies for attack and defense,” said Daley. “This communication really helps us dominate as a duo and get teammates involved in ways that really makes our offense deadly.”
One goal that Collinson and Daley agreed on for the last rugby season they finished together was to make it to the national championship. Despite possessing the biggest point differential in all of Division III Rugby, they did not even earn a berth to the tournament because of a one-point loss. When the team goal did not come through, it made Collinson and Daley turn to personal goals and striving to become better players to make sure the next team goal they have comes true. They know they can lean on each other during practice, training and game play.
“Playing with Vin is a great experience that I’ve had,” said Collinson. “We’ve played together on a couple teams and we’ve grown together as players. The best thing is not only knowing that he is a great athlete but also knowing where he is going to be and when. This is what really makes us a great duo. I have great confidence in every player on my team, but it’s always good to have your go-to guys on the field, and Vin is certainly one of them.”
Despite sharing a bond, Collinson and Daley seem to differ on most of their views. One of them thinks that rugby players need to possess a certain level of craziness, while the other deems toughness as the necessary quality to have. One of them says a big hit in football provides more satisfaction than a rugby hit, while the other feels the opposite way. One feels that rugby probably is the most physical sport in the world, while the other mentioned other sports that he feels should take the prize for physicality. This, in a way, symbolizes the different paths that these players took to get immersed in the game of rugby. As different as they are, it is the game of rugby that connects them and plays a huge role in their lives.
Dylan Tully may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org