Good Sports: Fresno State men's rugby aiming for deep postseason run

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno State men's rugby just might be the best sports program on campus you've never heard of.

The Bulldogs are undefeated and poised to make a deep postseason run according to their coach, Patrick Quan.

"Right now we're really making end roads in the national stage as far as rugby goes," he said.

Formed back in 2009, the Bulldogs have flourished on the collegiate level despite not being recognized as an official Fresno State varsity sport.

That means they don't get the same funding or backing as most of their opponents do.

The team is made up mostly of local athletes and students new to the sport. Former Bulldog lineman Travis Hansen switched to rugby following his Freshman year.

"I like that you can play offense and defense," he said. "I think it's a little bit better than football because you have to be a more well-rounded athlete. You don't just do one job, you're doing everything."

Players say they have formed an unlikely bond -- learning to play a sport that doesn't get much attention on campus.

"It's a great feeling, we've got so much against us," says CJ Banuelos. "We play on a field that's practically all dirt. These other teams have nice turf setups and we beat them 50-0."

"We face a lot of adversity but being from the Valley, it's a daily for us," says Justyn Mata.

But the team's future success may be limited by the help they receive from public donations.

"We're in a weird situation, we have sort of played ourselves out of our budget," Quan said. "The school has been supported as much as they can but the budget categories that we fall under are pretty much maxed out. At this point, we definitely need to figure out a way that we can cover the expenses for the opportunities the team has."

If you would like to donate to the rugby program, visit their website.

The team's next match will be March 12 on the road in Reno.
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