Norwich hosts Australian Defence Force Union Women’s Rugby team

Norwich hosts Australian Defence Force Union Women’s Rugby team

WCAX-Channel 3 Featury Story - Jack Fitzsimmons

NORTHFIELD, Vt.  – Norwich University is hosting the Australian Defence Force Rugby Union (ADFRU) women's rugby team this week on campus for the first stop of its three-week United States Tour. 

The Norwich University women's rugby team is holding joint practice sessions with the ADFRU team this week, culminating with the two teams playing an exhibition friendly on Friday at 4:30 p.m. on the NU Dog River Rugby Pitch. 

The ADFRU team is made up of 24 members of the Australian military armed forces branches with the Navy, Army and Air Force. 

The opportunity to tour overseas is a unique way for Australia to engage with the US outside of formal talks and exchanges. For the ADFRU this allows them to build relationships both on and off the field will fellow professional military women.  

"We are honored to be hosting the Australian Defence Force here on campus," said NU Women's Rugby head coach Austin Hall. "They've brought fun vibes from sunny down under and are adding a playful, yet hard working spirit to campus. We're making international friends, expanding our cultural horizons, and sharing love and knowledge of the game. 

It's a beautiful aspect of the game of rugby that we make these friends, practice with them, and then we fiercely compete with each other for 80 minutes on game day. But, when the game is over, we go right back to our friendships and tell the stories of the match for years to come." 

The ADFRU team arrived in Vermont early Sunday morning and have been interacting with the Norwich University women's rugby team in training sessions and the dining hall. 

They were welcomed to campus on Monday morning by Norwich University officials; including Guiyou Huang, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, Frank Vanecek, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Life, and Thy Yang, Assistant Vice President for International Education. 

The ADFRU team will meet with Norwich University President, Dr. Richard W. Schneider on Friday morning prior to the game. The ADRFU will also have a free day on Saturday before leaving to head to West Point for the next stop on its tour. The team will spend a week at West Point and then one more week in Annapolis at the United States Naval Academy.   

This is the second international tour that the ADFRU women's rugby program has taken, with the inaugural one coming in 2012 when it went to the United Kingdom.  

The teams have held two joint practice sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday so far where they have integrated the players during drills and worked on different warmup routines and techniques from their style of play. 

WCAX-Channel 3 visited Wednesday's joint practice and will have a feature story that will air on Thursday's 6 p.m. broadcast.