How women’s rugby has become one of nation’s top programs [Video]

Mason Goffoy, Reporter

Lindenwood’s women’s rugby team is off to another strong start, holding a 6-1 record through the first seven games of the season.

The Lions are currently ranked No. 1 in the country for Division I rugby, and have won the past four national championships. Head coach Billy Nicholas said that there are multiple factors that have led to the success of the program.

“First and foremost, just the atmosphere of the university, the competitive athletic programs you’re surrounded by and the coaches,” Nicholas said. “The support we have from our administration. Those are all really key factors.”

Senior Sativa Tarau-Peehikuru has been at Lindenwood for five years now. She is an international student from New Zealand. She said that Nicholas talking to her coach in New Zealand led to her deciding to play internationally.

“He [Nicholas] reached out to my coach in New Zealand and talked back and forth about how I wanted to play overseas, and that’s how I got my contact to come play over here,” Tarau-Peehikuru said.

Nicholas said that team chemistry is an important component of the program, and a responsibility the  coaches have on their end as well.

“Our team chemistry is really important and that the girls can trust each other on and off the field,” Nicholas said. “In general, for us the coaching staff is willing to adapt to the teams that we have and what our strengths are.”

The team does many bonding exercises to keep team morale boosted. Tarau-Peehikuru said that her favorite is the color wars.

“Our color wars, which is where we intermingle the freshman with the sophomores, seniors, and juniors,” Tarau-Peehikuru said. “And then we just play a round of games against each other.”

Lindenwood’s next game is on March 12 against Chicago North Shore.