The Staples rugby team has steadily improved over the last several years with a variety of coaches imprinting their philosophies. This spring, David Lyme will be the next man to lead the Wreckers.
Lyme takes over for Jesse Koproski, who will remain an assistant with the team. Lyme has played the sport professionally in his native Australia before arriving in the United States about a decade ago, and has served as an assistant for Staples for the past two seasons.
Lyme is also involved with the Fairfield Yankees, an adult mens club team in the area. Many of the players in that league have trained with the Staples team in preseason.
Staples notched a 32-30 win over Fairfield Prep last season, which was the first since rugby became a sport at the school in 2004. The teams scrimmaged last week with the Wreckers coming out on top, signaling a positive start to the season.
The success had led to an increase in numbers; 50 athletes came out to join the club, easily the most ever. Most are new to the sport as more than half have never touched a rugby ball before joining.
“I throw a lot of things at them that I don’t expet them to know, but if I can get them to pick up some that’s heading in the right direction,” Lyme said. “It’s great to be able to introduce them to the game.”
The Wreckers season begins proper March 23 with a game against Aspetuck at home and will face Prep April 29. Staples ends the regular season May 13 against national power Greenwich.
“I’ve told the boys the biggest goal is that we get better every week, pure and simple,” Lyme said. “Every day we come to training we want to train better than we did yesterday.”
Staples will be captained by a trio of players - Michael Overton, Thomas Jones and Michael Jennings. Overton was a starting guard on the Wreckers football team and Jones played basketball over the winter. All three were crucial to last year’s rise.
Jennings, a senior center, was selected as an All-American by USA Rugby and participated in a camp in Glendale, Arizona over the winter. He’s also participated for EIRA New York, a local club team.
“(Jennings) really just lives the game he works very hard off the field as much as he done the field to better. All three captains are great leaders.”
Lyme has preached unity on and off the field as the program continues to build an identity.
“I’m a big believer in mental training,” Lyme said. “The believe system is how you can make an impact; no matter if you’re big or small, if you play together as a unit as opposed to individually you can achieve so much more.”