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In the second installment in our off-season player profile series we sit down with John Hines Jr.
1. Let’s get to the heart of the issue right off the bat. Who’s a better dancer, you or your brother Vaughn?
Vaughn is the better dancer. He inherited the rhythm and I got competitiveness over him.
2. Okay, back to serious for a second, how long have you been playing rugby?
This will be my 6th year playing rugby
3. The coaches like to move you around because of your versatile skill set, what’s your favorite position to play?
My favorite has to be fullback because I can pick my spots on the field, exploit gaps and create for myself and my teammates. Plus, I get to kick sometimes
4. You play a lot of back 3 but obviously love lowering the shoulder and putting the boom on somebody. Where does that mentality come from?
I definitely get it from my dad. Growing up he often talked about playing football and giving people “snot bubbles” which occur when you hit someone hard enough to knock snot bubbles out of their nose.
5. What attracted you to the game of rugby and got you playing in the first place?
Rugby was so attractive to me because of the physicality of the sport. I’ve only played light contact sports (basketball and baseball), so actually hitting people is so much fun.
6. What makes Schuylkill River the club for you?
Schuylkill River is the club for me because of the brotherhood aspect of the club. Everyone is so close and everyone cares about one another. A key moment for me was when I got hurt in college, I got so much support from Schuylkill even though I had only played one summer here at the time.
7. What’s your proudest rugby moment so far?
My proudest rugby moments are probably captaining U23 and winning Men’s open both years.
8. What do you hope to accomplish individually and with Schuylkill going forward in your career?
For both 15s and 7s, I want to be a regular on both premier sides for Schuylkill. Individually, I just want to get into great shape, improve my game and travel to play.
9. Your family comes to a lot of matches, and your mom is pretty active within our Club’s social media. How does their support help you perform?
The support helps a lot, whether it’s pushing me to play better because I know who’s watching or just knowing that they’re behind me 100% whether I have a great game or a bad one.
10. In my last interview with Ryan McHugh I asked for some cheese steak recommendations. What are your go-to spots and do you have any special order recommendations?
My go-to cheesesteak spot is Maxx’s on Broad and Erie. The best in the world. All I get on mine is the regular SPK and some mayo.
11. I saw a meme about this online and for some reason I thought of you. If you were outside with your dog and two dogs started barking at him would you start barking back with him so your dude wouldn’t be outnumbered?
Of course I’d join my dog in barking at them. They’re not gonna bark jump Big Nico.
12. What’s on your pregame playlist?
My pregame playlist consists of a lot of Meek Mill (Free Meek), Dave East and Rick Ross
13. You call me granddad, especially on game day. What was the reaction from your family like the first time they noticed you doing that?
It was hilarious, they were like “first of all, who is grandpa and why is he grandpa”. They were so perplexed
14. Who’s your favorite pro player? I’d heard before that it was Eben Etzbeth from South Africa which would make our teammate Izak happy.
Actually my favorite pro player has to be Reiko Ioane. He’s a great young player that can burn you or go through you.
15. In addition to 15s, you’ve had plenty of success in 7s as well and captained our U-23 Academy to a MAC championship last summer. Which version of the game do you prefer and why?
I prefer 7s because of its open play and how it forces you to work on your fitness, defense and your handling skills.
16. Unless I’m mistaken, you’re from Philadelphia. How did you end up becoming a Steelers fan?
My dad and my mom’s parents are all Steelers fans. Plus I have family in Pittsburgh, so I was born into greatness
17. What’s a fact about you that might surprise your teammates?
One fact that might surprise them is that I’m super into poetry and the arts. I love writing and I love seeing it performed and I admire all works of art.
18. What does Philadelphia rugby mean to you and how do you try to embody that?
Philadelphia rugby, to me is very technical and scrappy. Most teams I’ve seen in Philadelphia are smaller in stature than other teams but always overcome that by being more fit, more gritty and more technically sound.
19. Do you prefer Donald Glover or Childish Gambino?
Childish Gambino is the better being
20. What’s the first thing you’re buying if you win the lottery?
If I win the lotto, I’m buying a huge house with my face painted on the garage door.
In the first installment of our off-season player profile series we play 20 questions with Ryan McHugh (with a bonus question at the end for all of you club treasurers out there!). Let’s get right to it.
1. How many years have you played rugby? I will be going on my 20th year of playing.
2. What made you stick with the sport? The teamwork required to win and the family aspect of a rugby team.
3. What position do you wish coach would let you play? Everyone wants to play hooker right? I love my role know but I wouldn’t mind trying center.
4. What previous clubs have you played for? I played for Media for about 15 years.
5. How come people say you went to St. Joe’s but you’re always wearing Temple gear? I actually graduated from SJU, but I was fortunate to coach at Temple and most of my closest friends went there.
6. What drew you to Schuylkill River initially? Aside from persistence it had to be the team culture they had built and and opportunity to play with my friends. I also wanted to challenge myself by playing D1.
7. What’s your favorite thing about being part of Schuylkill River Rugby? Aside from the constant ball busting it is playing for a team that works this hard yet is never satisfied. It was also pretty cool to play for a legit 7s program
8. You have an interesting nickname, where did that come from? In college I was tall, white, skinny, and bled a lot.
9. What other sports do you like besides rugby? College basketball, baseball, and hockey
10. Do you prefer Carson Wentz or Randall Cunningham? The Ultimate Weapon was great to watch but Carson is a generational talent.
11. Do you prefer Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons? Simmons is going to be a multi time all star but he needs to improve his shooting. Got to go with Embid here.
12. What is your proudest rugby moment? Going undefeated in our first season at Media and making back to back trips to nationals. Starting for Schuylkill is pretty high up there too.
13. You grew up pretty close to the Frankford area of the city, what’s it like to give back to your community through Rookie Rugby? It is great. They are an amazing group of kids who truly appreciate our time and are starting to enjoy the game.
14. Tell me what Philadelphia rugby means to you and how you embody that ethos? Just like our city, rugby here is blue collar. We are all about out working our opponent and doing anything necessary to win.
15. Who do you think could talk longer about rugby without stopping, Pat Boyle or Greg “Loopy” Mininger? I think if you put both of them in a van they could make to the West Coast and back without stopping.
16. Who’s your rugby hero? On a personal level it is my college coach Ken Smith. I’m also a big fan of Francois Pienaar and Richie McCaw.
17. Who is your favorite member of the Wu-Tang Clan? ODB was batshit but I’m a fan of Rza , the Gza, and of course M E T H O D man.
18. Give me 3-5 official Ryan McHugh cheesesteak recommendations. Steve’ Prince of Steaks, Phil’s, and Johns roast pork. Steak ums a close 4th of course.
19. What’s on your pregame pump up playlist? Eminem, Gang Starr, Wu Tang Clan, Ac/Dc, Crystal Method and some movie scores like Gladiator and Braveheart.
20. What’s a fact that people might be surprised to learn about you? I hate clowns. Not in a scarred way but a freak me out way. I saw the original It (yes youngsters the new one is a remake) and clowns have creeped me out ever since.
21. As Club treasurer would you like to end this interview by telling everyone to pay their dues? They know to pay or they can expect a call from our Director of Rugby. Haha.
The Mid-Atlantic Rugby Conference, which features collegiate rugby teams from Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware played an all-star game on Saturday December 2. Three of the players chosen for the match have previous experience playing 7s with Schuylkill River’s U-23 7s Academy. They are Paul Diorio from West Chester, Kyle Kent from Drexel, and Matt Hughes from Villanova. As an added bonus, one of the coaches was former Schuylkill River, and current 7s coach, Mike Burch. Way to go guys!
We’ve repeatedly stated how lucky our Club is to be in an area that has such strong rugby roots from the college level on down into the youth ranks. Here’s a quick rundown of four college teams that deserve recognition for what they accomplished this season.
First up are the Haverford College Angry Young Newts. The Newts made huge strides this season by going 7-0 and winning the NSCRO (National Small College Rugby Organization) Division of the MARC (Mid-Atlantic Rugby Conference) one year after going 1-6 in the same division. Read more on the Newts big turnaround here: http://haverfordclerk.com/mens-rugby-finishes-perfect-season-as-conference-champions/
Next up are the St. Joe’s Hawks who made it all the way to the D1-AA National Championship game before falling to Mary Washington. The Hawks surprised a lot of people who aren’t familiar with Philadelphia rugby by making it that far, but we weren’t shocked given the talent level and strong coaching staff at St. Joe’s. Here’s a recap from the championship match: http://www.hawksrugby.com/news_article/show/864147?referrer_id=1912572
In what’s a really great sign for the development of the game as a whole, the Kutztown Golden Bears have been granted “Elite Club Status” by the University. By taking that step up the Golden Bears will now receive more support from the school which should help them continue to grow as a national power. More acceptance of rugby by college administrations across the country will only serve to grow the game and make rugby a more attractive option for younger athletes. https://www.kutztown.edu/news-and-media/news-releases/november-2017/rugby-teams-granted-elite-club-status.htm
Last, but certainly by no means least, is a shout out to the Penn State Nittany Lions who ran the table and went undefeated in a very strong Rugby East conference. https://www.florugby.com/articles/6022705-rugby-east-champ-penn-state-caps-perfect-run-but-army-makes-it-tough
In a tournament featuring teams from Scotland, USA, Trinidad, St. Lucia, Guadeloupe, and Barbados the elite Atlantis 7s program has chosen five Schuylkill River Exiles to compete at Rugby Barbados World 7s this weekend. As usual, the Schuylkill guys are homegrown Philadelphia rugby players competing at a high level and you can find former U-23 Academy players in their ranks as well as guys who have represented our Club at Nationals on the premier stage. We are proud to see these guys take the next step in their development as players and participate in big events like this.
The aforementioned players are:
Dan “Chino” Deal – St. Joe’s University
Paul Diorio – West Chester University
Cody Bukowski – Drexel University
Brian Keown – St. Joe’s Prep
Mitch Vannoy – University of Delaware
Mitch also gets some extra credit because in addition to playing for Atlantis he’ll be on the coaching staff for the Titans who are competing in the women’s bracket. Great stuff Mitch!
In pool play they’ll be competing against the Xhosa Hurricanes (Trinidad and Tobago), Warriors (Barbados) and Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force.
We wish all of you the best of luck this weekend!