UNI Women's Rugby qualifies for nationals - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UNI Women's Rugby qualifies for nationals

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -- Its a mix between soccer and football and it isn't just for men. The University of Northern Iowa Women's Rugby team is headed back to the NCAA National Tournament, for the sixth year in a row.

Rugby is a sport much like football, but there is one catch. The players don't wear pads in competition.

"Basically you try to get the white ball across the line. Touch it down, while people are tackling you, but once you're tackled the game doesn't stop so you just got to keep going," said UNI rugby player Meghan Flanigan.

The UNI Women's Rugby team has been very successful, but are not a sanctioned varsity sport. For the 6th year in a row the team has qualified for nationals, but those national dreams will need to be funded entirely by themselves, raising money for traveling expenses, food and equipment.

"We are very successful sport and being varsity or not it's for the love of the game. I probably spend at least a semester's worth of tuition just to play this game and I do it because it's for the love of the game," UNI rugby player Kelsie McDowell said.

Coaches Steve and Jennifer Murra have tried to get their sport varsity status, but they say they have always been given numerous responses why they are not. One of those reasons being the budget.

"The thing about rugby is it's not very expensive. We don't need a lot of equipment. We just need jerseys and a few other things. We don't need a lot in terms of what football may need."

But for now varsity or not varsity these women will still head to New York to play in the national tournament, even if they have to fund it themselves.

UNI Women's Rugby Schedule: https://sites.google.com/a/uni.edu/uni-womens-rugby/

Online Reporter: Nikki Newbrough

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