Player Profile: Dave Gross
1.How long have you been playing rugby?
I have been playing rugby for about three and a half years now.
2. What other Clubs have you played for?
Besides Schuylkill I have only played at Millersville University (go killer bees).
3. What made you decide to play for Schuylkill River?
When I was coming into my senior year at Millersville (technically super senior) I was talking with our club member and Ville’ alum Loopy about my plans to continue rugby after graduation and I explained that I wasn’t just looking for a social club and he told me about Schuylkill and the opportunity that I would have to learn and advance my game. That really drew me to the club.
4. Your physical approach to the game has enabled you to see the field as a center and a loose forward. Describe the mentality you bring that helps you win the contact battle on the field.
The physicality and contact is what brought me to the sport of rugby. Coming up as a center I always tried to emulate the smash mouth players that were always looking for big contact or to blow out rucks. The mentality that I bring to the field is to look for the big physical battle and to win it.
5. What is your proudest rugby moment so far?
My proudest moment so far would have to be taking the MAC Open division with the U23 squad in 7’s. It was my first season with the team and we went undefeated through our last 15 matches I believe.
6. What do you hope to accomplish in your rugby career moving forward?
Going forward I hope to become a full game D1 player and help our team get back to nationals.
7. What’s on your pregame playlist?
I am pretty big on the pregame playlist. My playlist varies depending on how I’m feeling that Saturday. If I’m feeling pretty loose I’ll throw on some rap (Big L, Meek, Dave East, ASAP, etc…) and if I’m feeling like getting after some smash mouth play I’ll go with some hardcore (TUI, Expire, incendiary).
8. What are some of your best Philadelphia area cheesesteak recommendations?
Being from the Northeast area I am pretty partial to Steve’s prince of steaks, Joes steaks and Soda, and my number one go to is Jim’s however that’s not as convenient as it used to be now that I have to head all the way down to South St. (R.I.P. Roosevelt Mall Location).
9. You’re heading with us to South Africa next week. Is this your first international rugby experience and what are you most looking forward to?
Minus the fifteen-hour flight I could not be more excited to be a part of the South Africa tour. Not only is this my first international rugby experience, but this is actually my first time really traveling out of the country. I am most looking forward to getting to interact with the baby big cats at the rhino and lion park and just the good times that will be had with the rest of the boys #Friendship.
10. We briefly touched on your physical approach to the game in question 4. Have you ever actually successfully completed a pass in your rugby career?
Ouch, shoulda went with the Linda’s question about how I keep the flow so nice! But yes, I have been known to complete a pass here and there. I actually started off last season by connecting with Mike Centanni on the wing who sped away with a game winner.
11. Our club has 2 sides in league play. As a back who had to learn to play with the forwards how do you feel you personally benefitted from being able to do live scrums in practice and watch the D1 guys playing your position on match day?
The D1 loose guys have been a wealth of knowledge and help in my transition from back to forward. Between Ben, Randy, Tiny Dave, JB, and McHugh there’s probably over a hundred years of combined experience that I had as an example of how to play as a loose forward. Actually, between Tiny and JB alone there’s probably over a hundred years. The live scrums in practice have been a great resource to both observe and get real game-like experience at in an area of the game that I previously had no experience in.
12. What would you say is the biggest benefit in general that our Club gets from our multi-side structure?
The biggest benefit is the competition that comes out of it. We are able to field two full sides at practice which gives us the ability to get full game play and real game situations going. It also gives D2 the ability to play against a higher skill level which leads to the better development of our newer players.
13. You’ve played both 7s and 15s for Schuylkill. Which do you prefer and why?
I love both and for different reason. I love the pace and constant action of sevens. It requires more reactive play and more discipline because of the amount of space that is given. On the other side, I love the strategy and grind of eighty minutes of fifteens.
14. Who has the strongest mustache game on the squad, you or Dipin George?
I think I take the mustache but Dip has the better facial hair overall. That Salvador Dali/goatee thing he had going on was great.
15. What was your impression of Schuylkill River Rugby before you joined our Club and how does the Schuylkill experience compare to your expectations?
Before I joined the club, I had the impression that this was a serious program that had a winning reputation. The club lived up to those expectations and built the social and philanthropic side of it as well. The selflessness and willingness of the men on the team to help in any situation they can has been apparent from day one and I honestly can’t say enough about the family type atmosphere that this team brings with it.
16. We’re still mentioning the fact that the Philadelphia Eagles are the current Super Bowl champions every chance we get. What did you do for the game/parade and what did it mean to you to see this city finally win the big game?
It still feels surreal that we won, even a month later. I stuck with going to my good luck bar which is Currans in Bensalem for the game. Post-game I headed to Cottman and Frankford to take part in the debauchery that was happening down there. I spent the parade in front of the Barnes Foundation with my girlfriend, our teammate Austin Lucas and his family and friends.
17. The Wu-Tang Clan is my all-time favorite band, which is why I frequently ask this question, in case you didn’t know. Who is your favorite member of the Wu?
For some reason, the Wu and rugby kind of go together don’t they? I’d have to say my favorite member is Dirt McGirt ODB himself.
18. Since March is Women’s History Month tell us about a woman who has had a major impact on your life.
Now you know I can’t just choose one. My girlfriend Leah has always been supportive and encouraging in everything that I do. She’s at almost every one of our games and has even traveled down to Richmond VA to watch our sevens side play. She drives me to be the very best that I can be in every aspect of my life and I still can’t believe she’s willing to put up with me. Of course, I can’t leave momma dukes out of this. My mom has made it to most of our home games and virtually every one of my sporting events growing up. She’s given me the support I’ve needed to succeed no matter what. I can’t thank these two women for everything they do to help me and I wouldn’t be half the person I am without them.
19. What does Philadelphia rugby mean to you and how do you try to embody those ideals?
Philadelphia rugby, to me, is all about grinding as a family if that makes sense. It’s not necessarily about being the most skilled player, but rather being the most dedicated and hardworking teammate you can be. The way that I try to embody that is just by focusing on doing everything I can to prepare and doing everything I can to lift my teammates up and make us a better club.
20. If someone reading this was considering coming to play for Schuylkill what would you most want them to know about our Club in order to convince them to come play for us?
Honestly, I would just want them to come to a game or practice and see the tightknit team atmosphere we have. I think that would be convincing enough.