Ever wanted to find out which subject was better History or Medicine? Well there is one way, and it’s not a Harry Hill style fight, its intramural rugby. Intramural rugby is played and usually coached by students from specific subjects or societies who compete in a league system where everyone plays each other.
The top four teams in the league progress to the end of term playoffs, which take place next week.
So why do people choose Intramural rugby over the University teams? There are mixed reasons. History Boys winger Gavin Gilfillan chose to play intramural rugby because he didn’t believe that the rugby team at the University was well set up. “The coaches were very narrow minded with team selections and didn’t give the opportunities that I expected whereas with intramural rugby I was given those opportunities and gained confidence playing with a group of lads I can now call my close mates!”
Gilfillan emphasised the strong social element as important, stating there was “a great team spirit that is valuable on the pitch.” With teams formed around specific courses or society interests intramural rugby offers the opportunity to build closer friendships with your course mates or those with similar interests.
This is in direct contrast to EURFC who have been criticised in the past for a highly machismo atmosphere. For some members of the History Boys who have actively distanced themselves from the University team because of a strong perceived pressure to conform, the inclusiveness of the History Society’s team is invaluable.
Fly-half Michael King, who also plays in the league for the History Boys, also reiterated the more social side to intramural sport. He was attracted “because it’s more laid back and more sociable than the University squads.”
There are other reasons to join the intramural team of course, including the factor of time restraint or as History Boys’ second row Ferg Cowan admitted: “I played Intramural instead of University [rugby] because I couldn’t be bothered with gym sessions.”
When we consider everything Gavin, Michael and Ferg have said about intramural sport there seems to be only positives. Unlike the University team equivalent, players are not required to try out before being selected.
For those people who have the time and inclination for highly structured, intense training sessions the University team provides, they can be rewarded with opportunities such as the opportunity to play at Murrayfield, like in last autumn’s Varsity game against St Andrews.
However, for students who want a less pressurised experience playing high level competitive sport intramural rugby may be a less time restrictive, more social way in order to do so.