SIU Rugby Teams Host Annual All-Fools Tournament


Arjun Tsapalasetty | [email protected]

The Saluki tackles the opposition in the game against Maryville April 01, 2023 at the Sam Rinella field in Carbondale, Ill.

On the day that many are weary of a joke being played on them, there were no tricks to be had at Sam Rinella field this past Saturday, where the Men’s and Women’s Rugby teams hosted their annual “All-Fools tournament”.

The tournament, rightfully scheduled on April 1 every year, entered their 35th year running and features roughly 13 different teams across the area and even eight different schools. It raises money for area rugby teams as well as gives players an opportunity to connect with other players across other schools and in the area.

This tournament is much different than normal rugby that these teams practice. Most games of rugby are played with 15 members on each squad, with half of the in the scrum and half spread across the field. This tournament was played in “10’s” with ten members on each squad, making for a much different style of play for each team. 


Second-year  SIU graduate student and the women’s team captain, Shannon Harasta, said spending the year playing 10’s helped prepare them for this tournament.

“All year. A lot of teams, not just us havent had numbers recently. Ideally we would like to be playing fifteens, with fifteen on each side, but we’re playing tens today and pretty much everything we did in the fall was also tens. Just because a lot of neighboring teams can’t fill the whole side. So really all the tens we’ve been playing all year have been helping us for this tournament,” said Harasta.

Part of the reason this is the case as well is the hard time these quads have had post-covid and many squads are just thankful to even have a team out there

“I think the SIU Women’s team had a really hard time during covid. They had a lot of people who were experienced players who aged out and then couldn’t really rebuild for a couple of years. We’re kinda just building numbers back up now. It’s cool to just have a team out there. You can really see it coming together and I think that there’s a lot of opportunity for growth next year and I feel really good about our rookies.” said Harasta. 

The women’s squad is fortunate enough to have enough members to make a full-team, however, roughly seven members of the team had to whore (substitute) for other teams, such as Quad City and Central Missouri.

The SIU women’s squad finished the tournament with two losses against University of Illinois and Central Missouri. The Quad City Irish ended up as tournament champions on the women’s side.

As for the SIU men’s team, clobbered Meryville in game one, earned a win in game two against ISU, 14-10, but dropped the following game to the eventual champions, the Rowdies adult club.


Despite the losses by both teams, both squads are just happy about trying to spread the love for the game and building friendships.

“This is a tournament we have at SIU to raise money. It’s a good way of building relationships with everyone else in the area. The towers are right there too so maybe someone might see it through their window and be like dang that looks pretty cool. Let’s play,” said Men’s Rugby captain William Wise.

Players are using this tournament as an opportunity to test their skills as a team for the future as well.

“This tournament is all about us competing and showing that we’ve gotten better as a team and individually,” said junior men’s rugby player Wilber Milhouse.

After their win, Milhouse said their performance was expected, yet still believed there was much to work on.

“I feel like we played well to our expectation, but I feel like we could also be better in some aspects and be better for this next game,” said Milhouse.

Without a doubt, the tournament did give many of these players and squads opportunities to grow as a team and meet other players across the community as well as other schools to enjoy the game of rugby.

Sports reporter Howard Woodard can be reached at [email protected].

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