Getting to know the new face of rugby

The sun is high in the sky over a lime green field, as the smell of sweat and freshly cut grass fills the air.

A whistle blows, a coin is tossed, a ball is thrown, bodies collide, noses are broken, eyes bruised — this is what Tyler Broth lives for. This is rugby.

Broth, a junior, grew up in a rugby household.

His father has played the game since his college days and continued through Broth’s childhood until a surgery two years ago.

Broth said he remembers standing on the sidelines with his mother, watching his father out on the field, receiving — and giving — the same brutal treatment Broth now deals out to his enemies every match.

“It requires a certain type of person and a certain kind of attitude to walk out onto a field and play for 80 minutes straight,” Broth said.

This certain attitude, this certain type of person, is what he said he tries to exemplify.

His face bears the marks of a fighter — a visible scar crosses his brow as a sort of memorial to his experience on the team.

“You get an almost raw, primal sense,” he said.

Broth first turned to rugby in his junior year of high school, after he stopped playing tennis due to a broken leg.

“After recovering I decided not to go back, to try something different,” Broth said.

Broth joined the UVM club rugby team as a first year, and now plays as a forward flanker.

The team is comprised of 15 players, eight forwards and seven backers, he said.

“Duties change on the field so players need to be completely aware,” Broth said. “You become a piece of a finely tuned machine and without each piece it would completely fall apart.”

Two months ago, rugby team officials appointed Broth as club president for the 2011-12 season.

“The role of the president is pretty big,” Club Sports Coordinator Leon Lifschultz said. “They are kinda in charge of making sure the whole ship runs.”

The president’s job is to communicate with the Student Government Association and other club leaders, schedule matches and to be an interpreter between coaches and the players, Broth said.

The team practices three times a week, with games every Saturday afternoon during the regular fall season.

“Because it’s a club sport, some people are really involved and some people aren’t, but that’s really up to them,” he said. “I love it.”