The Seawolves hunt for a third title

Seattle rugby team’s fifth championship journey

Uriah Aguon, staff writer

The Seattle Seawolves prepare for a Ruck during a rugby game Tukwilla, Washington. (Uriah Aguon)

The Seattle Seawolves rugby team won against the Dallas Jackals on Friday, April 28. This win brought the Seawolves’ record to 8-2, moving them from 2nd to 3rd place in the Major League Rugby West Conference.

The Seawolves won back-to-back championships in their inaugural and second seasons in 2018 and 2019 before the cancellation of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. After taking second place in last year’s championship, the Seawolves are on the hunt to bring home their third title.

Senior global development studies major and history minor Micah Witherow has been a fan of the Seawolves for three years. Witherow shared his thoughts on the Seawolves’ defense, saying it will be a key part of advancing toward the playoffs.

“Unfortunately, we’ve encountered a few injuries, which has really contributed to the lull in performance. I think when [we’re] fully healthy, we’re the team to beat, but we need to get healthy.” Witherow said. “Frankly [we need to] score a little bit more. I don’t think we are anymore, but we were the best defensive team in the league. I think just getting healthy and repatching up the defense will be key. I think the biggest thing in terms of handling the ball [is] not in turning over possession.

Loose prop Jake Turnbull and scrumhalf Karl Keane of the Seawolves agreed that their team is not at its best.

“We, unfortunately, dropped two losses that we probably could have won, but that’s our own fault. We’ve got to get into fourth gear [but] to get into this final block 8-2 is pretty promising.” Turnbull said. “As a group, collectively, we’ve probably given away too many penalties, too many turnovers, but once we clean up in those little areas, we’ll be unstoppable. It was quite ugly at times, but we made it work.”

Keane agreed with Turnbull, adding that the team will be taking advantage of their bye week.

“We’re in gear two, we got two more gears to go, so we haven’t even hit our best yet, and there’s a lot more to come from us. Coming to that back end of the season and the playoffs, we’re hoping to peak at the right time.” Keane said. “Our goal was to come out tonight and get [some] points on the board and go into the bye week 8-2, and hopefully [get] second place in the West Conference. I think we’ve done that now, so it’s a really good place to be in, and we got a nice week to recharge.”

Senior exercise science major and semi-pro rugby player Jared Hubbell believes the Seawolves’ fortune lies in them maintaining possession.

“The Seawolves are really great … I think if they just keep on the path that they’re going on, maybe just make some minor improvements and prevent breakdowns in their setup, I think they’ll do well,” Hubbell said. “As long as they get a spot in the playoffs and then make it all the way to the end, that’s all that matters. Rugby’s more of a game of possession, so if you have a breakdown, if you’re not winning rucks [or] lineouts [or] scrums, that’s where things fall apart, and that’s where you lose the game. It’s not like football … it’s more about consistency and making sure you make it into the try zone.”

Center and wing Martin Iosefo sees their recent wins as a good turn-around.

“It’s a good turn-around for us. Those two losses against San Diego and Utah were tough, but we flipped the switch and applied it to the last game against Toronto and to this game, so we learned from that, and we’re in a good position now to take it to the playoffs.” Iosefo said. “It’s just [about] bringing that energy from the start … about being consistent and keeping that energy throughout the full 80 minutes of the game.”