It may not be a varsity sport at the school but the University of Northern Iowa women’s rugby team is ranked amongst the best in the country. UNI finished ninth in the final poll from this past season and regularly competes against some of the biggest schools in the country.
Steve Murra directs the club program at UNI and says they’ve played the likes of BYU at nationals, Dartmouth. Last year they played Stanford, Air Force and Texas A&M.
Mura has a lot of success over the years, even though he does not recruit rugby players. He finds players from the incoming freshman class each year. Mura says there are eight summer sessions of orientation and they set up a table and recruit players there, and also go to softball and volleyball games and intramural sports looking for players.
Murra says he looks for athletes who played other sports at the high school level. He says most of them haven’t played rugby and are apprehensive, and he says usually the moms are more apprehensive than the dads.
Murra says they play a split season in the fall and spring and this season concluded with a trip to the National Sweet 16 tournament. He says they raised money in the offseason to fund the trip. This past season was the most successful in the program’s history.