Men’s rugby junior Evan Williams optimistic for rugby return


Photo by Lindenwood Athletics

Junior Evan Williams attempts kick against the University of Illinois on Feb. 29, 2020.

Jack Leach, Reporter

Though COVID-19 cancelled the spring rugby season last semester, the men’s team is going into their next season (or whatever may lie ahead) with an overall confident mindset.

Even with tunnel vision sights of a national championship victory last year, many players have expressed their hope that the organization can rebound and rebuild after a bitter end to the spring semester.

From the capitol of Wales, the Cardiff-kid Evan Williams has emerged as a leader and proven talent within Lindenwood’s rugby walls. His positive mental attitude speaks volume for the institution.

Q: Last March, the 7’s season was cancelled for the Spring due to COVID-19. What did you do to fill that time?

A: “I took the time to explore life outside of rugby. I dabbled in different activities from playing guitar to videography. I took the opportunity to discover new passions that I haven’t had the opportunity to explore yet.”

Q: Thoughts about the 15’s season getting cancelled for the fall semester as well?

A: “It’s a shame, but everything happens for a good reason in my eyes. It gives us a great opportunity to work on the finer details; I can’t wait to see how we turn out come spring.”

Q: What keeps you peaceful during these times?

A: “I’m healthy, happy, and surrounded by amazing people. How could you be sad when you have all that? Being that grateful for what I have, keeps me happy regardless of the negativity around me.”

Q: Who/What do you credit for giving you a passion for rugby?

A: “Rugby runs in my blood. My father, grandfather, uncles, and even mother played rugby! I’ve been kicking rugby balls since before I can remember. The feeling I get from playing the sport is truly special.”

Q: Going into your junior season, what improvements do you feel you have made as a player since last year?

A: “My defense was my biggest weakness growing up; I’ve always been small compared to others, so I found it difficult to bring big men down. But after watching Michael Jordan turn his weakness into a strength in The Last Dance, I was inspired to do the same. Now, I spend ten minutes tackling after every single training session. Doing the extra work has helped me massively, and given me the confidence to front up to the big boys!”

Q: Lindenwood Rugby made some changes to the coaching staff this offseason, how do you feel about some of the new faces?

A: “I’m really happy with the coaching set-up we have. They do an amazing job keeping us organized and getting the best out of us. I’m so grateful for all the hard work they do for us on-and-off the pitch. The new coaches have made a huge impact coming in, and have brought great value to the program.”

Q: Team goals for the upcoming season?

A: We won’t settle for anything less than No. 1. That 15’s national championship trophy looks very appetizing right now.”

Q: Who are some teams in your schedule that will give you guys some tough competition this season?

A: “Life University always puts up a good fight, but I have absolute faith that we are the best side in the nation right now.”

Q: On the other hand, with one of your TikTok videos surpassing over 1.3 million views, your page ‘Rugby Nudge’ has become a popular social media brand. What are your future plans with this page?

A: “Rugby Nudge is a virtual representation of my passion for kicking. What’s done in love is done well! I plan to keep creating content and expressing my love for the game.”

Q: In that same video, you were seen kicking a field goal with a football. Would you ever consider becoming a kicker in American football?

A: “Rugby will always have my heart, but if the opportunity arose then I would definitely consider it. It could be a great retirement plan!”