LAFAYETTE — Rudi Spurlock and Nick Stanley were teammates on the Glenbrook Apache football team. When they played their last game as seniors during the 2010 season, they had no idea it wouldn't be their last time as teammates.
Last year, as freshmen at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the two joined the school's rugby team and their love of the sports has grown. The two along with the rest of the ULL team will take on La. Tech in Ruston at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
Spurlock didn't have any plans to play rugby in college. It just kind of happened.
"I met a guy in fraternity rush who was on the team, who told Nick and I about the team," he said. "He told us that we should try our luck and come out since we were guys of decent size."
Most people who are unfamiliar with rugby assume it's a lot like football, Spurlock and Stanley quickly learned about the differences.
"The only thing about rugby and football that are the same is the tackling," Stanley said. "The rugby ball is double the size of a football and the number of players on the field and the rules are different."
Spurlock agreed on the many diffidences.
"I found rugby much different than football," he said. "It's more like contact soccer. It's more fast paced than football, and the play doesn't stop unless there's a penalty or the ball goes out of bounds. Also, there is no forward passing, you have to pass backwards. You have to be in pretty good shape to play the game."
Both guys enjoy playing rugby but Spurlocks said the sport can't replace football for him.
"You can't really replace football," he said. "That's why I joined the team initially. I wanted to fill that void. Don't get me wrong, I think I am way more talented at rugby than I was in football, and I love the sport, it's just that rugby doesn't hold a candle to the feeling I got when I played high school football."
Both guys enjoy the camaraderie of their teammates just as much as playing on the team.
"If you are crazy enough to play this game, we want you on the team," Spurlock said. "It's like a family, it really is. I've never met so many guys that will welcome someone like they do, and just put you under their wing. It's a true brotherhood."
Stanley agrees, "There is about 30 guys on the team and we are very close on or off the field. Its like a family."
Both guys intend to keep playing rugby through college and maybe even further.
"I'll be playing rugby all through my years of college," Stanley said. "And after I graduate I'll try to find a men's team I can play for."
"As long as I don't get too seriously hurt playing, I could definitely see myself playing all the way through college," Spurlock said. "Actually, unlike most normal NCAA sports, we get five years of eligibility instead of four. So, I still have four seasons left to play. So far, I've only had few minor bumps and bruises. I'm keeping my fingers crossed so I can finish my eligibility out. Hopefully, with the help of the good Lord, I can indeed finish out my eligibility."