Rugby Captain Ushers in Era of Success

Heads up! This article was imported from a previous version of The Campus Citizen. If you notice any issues, please let us know.

“Rugby is more than just a sport. It’s a lifestyle, actually.”

Levi Hawk, a junior studying social studies and special education at IUPUI, is all about rugby. He has played for twelve years. Hawk got into the sport because he wanted to play something other than baseball in the spring. He had played football and had enjoyed the physicality of the game. Rugby was a spring sport that featured the same trait. Thus, Hawk began his playing career in the Brownsburg Youth Program at age 10.

Hawk continued to play rugby throughout middle school and high school, playing at Avon. Hawk has played for the rugby club throughout his time at IUPUI and is currently in his second year as a team captain, a duty he shares with Zach Harlan.

“It’s more authority than anything,” Hawk said. “Basically, if one of the captains are saying something, it’s more of, like, they’ve done it before.”

The IUPUI Rugby Club plays two different styles of the sport: fifteens, played in the fall, and sevens, played in the spring. Fifteens is the classic version of rugby with 15 players. While still conforming to the same rules and regulations of rugby as fifteens, sevens has many variations. Among these are fewer scrums, a shorter playing time and a team consisting of seven players. In sevens, there are two, seven-minute halves, as opposed to the 80-minute game time in fifteens. This difference in time allows for a greater quantity of sevens games in one day.

Hawk plays different positions depending on whether he is participating in sevens or fifteens. In fifteens, Hawk is a flanker. There are two flankers in rugby, one being the openside flanker, the other being the blindside flanker. As a blindside flanker, Hawk is positioned in the back row of a scrum on the outside. On defense, Hawk’s job is to prevent the back, who is the player in possession of the ball, from making progress down the field. He would do this by tackling the ball carrier and attempting to steal the ball. When IUPUI has possession of the ball, Hawk’s job as a flanker is to keep track of the ball and to ensure that the backs maintain possession.

Occasionally, Hawk will take up the eighth-man role in fifteens. The eighth-man lines up at the back of the scrum and is the player who receives the ball if the scrum is won. Like a flanker, the eighth-man is a defensive key to a team.

In sevens, Hawk is a prop. Other than pushing the opposing team in the front line of a scrum in an attempt to move the ball, the prop has the responsibility of lift man. This means that the prop lifts the lock, who is the player that attempts to catch the ball on the inbound, which starts the scrum.

“They are all equal fun, but when I play eight or flanker, I play across from my brother,”

Hawk said in a text. “Playing near someone I trust is tremendously fun.”

When he isn’t playing Rugby, Hawk works as a stone mason for Monumental Stone Works in Crawfordsville. In his free time, Hawk plays the piano with his brothers. Both of his brothers, Adam and Luke, play rugby as well. Adam is a member of the IUPUI Rugby Club. Luke will play for the rugby club starting next fall.

Hawk also loves superhero movies. He is excited about the slate of superhero movies that are hitting theaters in the upcoming weeks, including “Shazam!” “Hellboy” and of course “Avengers Endgame.” Hawk is also an avid fan of “The Office.”

“I’ve watched it seven times,” Hawk said. “I’m on my eighth right now.”

Currently in the spring season, Hawk has led the IUPUI Rugby Club in two tournaments, one in Kentucky, the other in Tennessee. The club, a Division II team, participates in tournaments that often features Division I talent. Hawk is proud to say that his team holds up well against the Division I teams.  

Although the IUPUI Rugby Club was founded a short five years ago, it is becoming one of the better clubs in the country. In the Kentucky Tournament, Hawk’s team beat Ohio State and lost to Kentucky in the semi-final. Hawk cites this quick success to the dedication and intensity of the coaches. The current coach, Joey Richards, was Hawk’s coach when he first started playing youth rugby.

“Right now, we have a really serious coach and he’s trying to take [the program] off,” Hawk said. “He’s good at communicating how to play the game.”

The IUPUI Rugby Club has put a lot of effort in to recruiting, which is done entirely by students. As a part of the recruiting board, Hawk puts time into finding high school talent. Avon and Brownsburg often produce great players, but out-of-state talent is also considered. In fact, the rugby club has had two recruits on the roster from California. Hawk believes that the club’s strong recruiting efforts are another key to their success.

“It’s just everywhere, rugby’s everywhere, especially the with success that we’ve had the past two years, going from not even making Nationals to winning conference as well as making a National game,” Hawk said.

IMG_0363-225x300


The combination of great coaching and strong recruiting has enabled the IUPUI Rugby Club to appear in Nationals, the playoff for rugby clubs, the past two fall seasons. To qualify for Nationals, a club must win its conference. IUPUI competes in the Midwest College Conference. Next fall, Hawk will look to lead his team to a third consecutive Nationals appearance. Next weekend, Hawk will lead his

team in their first springtime Nationals appearance.

After he wraps up his college career, Hawk would like to continue playing rugby.

“I’m a competitor,” Hawk said. “This is where I’m going to win.”

Hawk has a great profile to show to recruiters as well. Along with being captain of the club, he has won Conference Player of the Year once. He was also ranked seventh at his position nationally in fifteens.

If Hawk doesn’t continue his playing career, he would like to coach instead. He currently coaches the rugby squad at Avon and would like to continue to do so. However, Hawk would be open to other coaching opportunities.

“I would like to see if I could could back here and coach, you know, just with all the history,” Hawk said.

Although not many students know about the IUPUI Rugby Club, Hawk believes that students enjoy it. He has seen attendance at the games increase throughout his time as a player. He also believes that anyone can play rugby and that it’s a great way for students to find entertainment.

“Rugby is a great sport to watch,” Hawk said. “You don’t have to know a lot to go, ‘Wow, that was fun.’”

Games are held at Carroll Stadium. Admission to home games is free for anyone who wants to watch the IUPUI Rugby Club. Their schedule can be found on their Instagram and Facebook pages.


Editor's Picks


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2022 The Campus Citizen, IUPUI