All In Stride: the Morehouse College Rugby Club

The Georgia Black Sabers, more famously known as the Morehouse College Rugby Club, was founded in 2012, and has grown leaps and bounds into one of the more formidable and highly competitive teams in the South East.

With a roster now consisting of over 20 student athletes the Sabers are the first all black rugby team in the entire nation. Since its creation in 2012, the team, led by Anthony Stewart and Seifuddin Saafir has grown into a force that is ready to compete for the division title in the near future.

“We started in 2012 and each year we keep making progress and this is our best year yet, Stewart said. “We are currently 5-1 and getting ready to play the team we lost against for the championship.”

The team, which had as little as five athletes show up to practices at a time in 2012, has now grown into a formidable group of dedicated individuals thriving to get better. The team now has an impressive 28-man roster, which continues to grow yearly.

Due to the history of Rugby not including many African Americans, this group takes on a different approach that no other team in the nation can truly relate to.

“Being black in general, I always kind of carried that underdog mentality on my back,” Stewart said. “There’s always someone who is going to be rooting against you.”

Stewart, a junior at Morehouse College has been playing Rugby for the past eight years and has a vision for the game well beyond his personal career.

“If you look at Rugby internationally there are many black people who play the sport,” Stewart said. “I would love to teach and pass my knowledge of this sport down to the next generation of young African Americans coming up.”

Saafir, a senior at Morehouse College has been one of the most dedicated student athletes on campus and is appreciative of the journey he’s been apart of with the club.

“The fact that we have had this longevity is a blessing,” Saafir said. “I just thank God that we’ve been able to have this level of success so far. Being the first all black rugby team in the nation, the odds were certainly against us.”

Stewart and Saafir much to the agreement of many of their teammates would like to start Urban Youth Leagues’ for Rugby soon after they graduate from Morehouse College.

“I want to foster kids into a sport that teaches you discipline and command of yourself,” Martin said. “If you look at rugby on a global level there are many people of color who are playing in so many different fascists. If we can take that and apply a Morehouse mentality to it, the sky is the limit.”

Morehouse College, like many other black institutions were never built on a strong understanding or support of a sport like Rugby, many cite the fact that the sport never gained popularity within the African community. However, something special is arising at Morehouse where Saafir and Stewart have little worry about the future of the program.

“Its been a thought in my mind about what might happen to the program when I leave, but not plausible,” Saafir said. “We are working very hard to make sure the program continues to prosper.”

“We have guys in every class,” Martin said. “We take this very seriously. Guys from my high school talk about wanting to attend Morehouse and be apart of this team. We have a program that is literally fostering the youth.”

In the immediate aftermath of an already successful season, Martin and Saafir solely want to see Morehouse College actually begin to get on board and provide the club with extra publicity moving forward.

“We are bringing publicity and money to Morehouse without any real acknowledgment or backing from the school yet,” Saafir said.  “We only need publicity. We want to be known as a real school sport and become established. That will help attract more student-athletes to the program and campus moving forward.”

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Malcolm Banks

Sports Editor

Malcolm.Banks@morehouse.edu

 

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