Get to Know Your Men’s Rugby Team!

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Brendan Collum

Brendan Collum started playing rugby in the third grade, for a local flag rugby team in his hometown.

Five years later he found himself playing tackle in a local club team.

Collum now is a sophomore studying biomedical engineering at Penn State, using his rugby passion and experience to play the Lock position for Penn State Men’s Rugby.

“I enjoy playing rugby because I like working with my team in order to achieve the greater goal of beating the other team,” Collum said. “The most satisfying part about rugby is winning a match against a team that ‘should have beaten you,’ after you worked hard all week to prepare for them.”

Collum also finds that rugby has changed him for the better, making him more team-oriented as he works with others to achieve a common goal.

“I would encourage other young men to play rugby,” Collum said. “I have met some of my best friends through the sport. Playing has [also] allowed me to travel all over the world, from Canada to Scotland.”

Collum plans to continue playing on a local club team even after he graduates Penn State, maybe one day using all his background and skill to coach his own kids, if they follow in his rugby footsteps.

James Anderson

For James Anderson, playing rugby was a “simple rite of passage.” He loved the sport and in turn, the path of rugby unfolded itself before him.

“Going to a High School in South Africa, boys are faced with two options,” Anderson said. “Field Hockey or Rugby.”

Anderson’s choice was easy: rugby.

That decision has led the sophomore biochemistry major to play rugby the last seven years, two at Penn State as a Prop. Anderson has also coached and refereed for one year in South Africa and one year at University Park.

“Rugby for me is more than just a sport — it’s a lifestyle,” Anderson said. “The lessons that I’ve learned on the field translate seamlessly into my lifestyle off the field.”

Anderson feels that rugby has taught him how to communicate effectively and how to treat people with respect.

“Rugby has taught me to dig deep when I need to, how to rely on people as well as be a reliable person myself,” he said.  “At the end of the day, nothing feels better than putting in a big hit, or turning over an opposition scrum.”

Once his journey at Penn State comes to a close, Anderson hopes to go to Medical School and specialize as a surgeon. He knows, however, that rugby will always play an instrumental role in his life.

“I hope to keep up with my coaching,” Anderson said. “Maybe one day I’ll coach a team of my own.”

Brian Stella

Brian Stella first got into rugby in eighth grade, joining Doylestown Rugby. He continued to play in high school and now is a freshman playing the Wing position.

It’s been six years since Stella got started, but he’s been loving every minute, every second — especially when it comes to team wins, long runs and great dump tackles.

“I enjoy playing rugby because it is a great way to make friends and meet new people,” Stella said. “But I also enjoy rugby because I love the physical aspect: tackling.”

But even the tackling can’t beat the way rugby has influenced Stella, giving him an experience unlike any other.

“Rugby has changed me as a person by teaching me a lot of valuable lessons, such as commitment, but it also helped me make new friendships that have helped shape my life and who I am as a person,” Stella said.

After he graduates, the freshman statistics major hopes to find work in the statistics field. He also hopes to continue playing rugby.

“Rugby will continue to play a role in my life,” Stella said. “I am going to try to keep playing into my forties.”