In the Locker Room with Andrew Follmann and Matthew Kendrick

This week the Review sat down with junior Andrew Follmann and senior Matthew Kendrick, members of the Billy Goats Gruff, the men’s club rugby team to discuss the upcoming season, what makes rugby special and unique Gruff traditions. The team’s first home match will be Saturday, Sept. 21 at 1 p.m. on North Fields.

Nate Levinson, Sports Editor

You are starting this season in a new league.  What opportunities do you think that will bring?

Matt Kendrick: Starting [in] this new league [the Small Universities League of Ohio], I feel like we have a good chance to get into the playoffs. We also have a ton of first-years. This year reminds me of when I was a first-year. There was a lot of talent in the older players, but a lot of good-looking first- and second-years. A lot of rookies are going to have some great game time.

Andrew Follmann: I’m really excited with the new players on the team, and how the team is building itself up under my watch. With this new league, I feel like this team will be making history. This is my first wave of recruiting and I see a lot of potential.

Give me a recap of last semester’s season.

MK: We were very successful. We won two out of three games. [Senior] David Brandt was an anchor on that team and kept everyone motivated.

AF: Last season was our social season and we had some players go abroad. We were unexpectedly short-handed, so we didn’t have great numbers, but we did play pretty well. There was a solid group of players that were pretty dedicated.

What makes rugby unique from other sports?

MK:  You can play it anywhere in the world. I’ve played rugby in China, South Korea and South America. There’s the same rugby culture everywhere. If you move around the world, you’ll be in the same company of people as you would be in the United States on your own team.

AF: There’s no other sport where you can hit somebody and then an hour later have a beer with them. Everyone who plays rugby is of the same mindset. You get through the games together, and afterward, you’re friends.

How do you think the team compensates for not having any head coaches?

MK: There’s not one central workhorse on the team. Everyone on the team is a workhorse and pulls 110 percent. We all teach each other things and benefit from our collective knowledge. It’s easier to pick up rugby by just playing than by being coached.

AF: Dedication from the players. It’s all on our shoulders and everyone does everything they can to help out. We have good drills, and that really compensates for the lack of a coach. [Junior] Conor Narovec does a great job as captain of the forwards.

What is the rugby team’s favorite group activity (other than playing rugby)?

MK: Beer.

AF: Helping old people cross the road.

What is your relationship with the women’s rugby team?

MK: We are trying really hard to build a good relationship with them. We definitely want to be partners and active community members with the Rhinos.

Are there any unique Gruff traditions?

MK: We have a pre-game chant about eating babies and behaving like a Viking. It doesn’t make any sense but it gets you super pumped. Sometimes a guy plays the bagpipe before our games.

AF: Zulus. After you score your first try, you take a lap around the rugby pitch bare naked. Everyone sings “It’s a Small World After All,” and you have to run through a tunnel of guys on the team at the end.

If you could be one famous person, who would it be?

MK: All of my favorite famous people are dead Asian emperors. I’d like to be King Sejong of Korea.

AF: I want to be me, man.