Mr. Mans, New Ulm high school teacher and head coach for the MSU Mankato rugby team. Picture taken at VTW fields, Otsego Minnesota during MSU vs UMD. (Collin Horning)
Mr. Mans, New Ulm high school teacher and head coach for the MSU Mankato rugby team. Picture taken at VTW fields, Otsego Minnesota during MSU vs UMD.

Collin Horning

From Scrums to Science Class

Mr. Mans is a coach, teacher, father, and soon to be husband.

November 30, 2021

One play, 3 injuries. A broken collar bone, a cut in the head, and a bloody nose: welcome to rugby. Rugby is an aggressive and very physical sport. Not a lot of people at New Ulm High School know about rugby since there’s no team. However, a new science/physics teacher was hired this 21-22 school year who also happens to be the Mankato Mavericks rugby coach.

Players form a scrum to fight for possession of the ball.

Mr. Mans grew up in Nicollet, Minnesota. He attended St. Johns University. At first he wanted to go into computer science teaching; however, that major was not offered at St. Johns. Mans got a degree in science education because it was the same concept he loved. He has taught at many different schools, including Hopkins Junior High, a charter school in the twin cities, and Nicollet for four years. Mans wanted a bigger town to live in and a school to teach at. He began teaching at NUHS this year.

The Mavericks huddle one last time of the season

Mr. Man’s first day of college was when he fell in love with rugby. “A friend of mine knew someone on the team and wanted to try it out. He wasn’t going to play if I didn’t come with,” said Mans. Mans loved rugby and continued to play it throughout college achieving the captain position. Once college came to an end he didn’t just want to walk away from the sport he loved the most. He decided to be the assistant coach for the Mankato Marauders for a couple of years before becoming the MSU Mankato Mavericks rugby coach. “It’s such a fun sport and great community. I want to continue coaching until I can’t,” Mans said. Mans is very passionate about the team working hard and trying to get better. “My favorite part of coaching is that it is family-oriented; you play with the brother beside you. Rugby is more of a team sport than most,” said Mans in response to what his favorite part of coaching is.

MSU loses a tough fight against UMD in Otsego MN

There are over 2,500 colleges and universities in the United States of America that offer the sport of rugby. Rugby has been in existence since the 1800s, but it wasn’t till the 1960s when rugby became popular in the US. Southern Minnesota has no high school rugby teams. There are only about 20 different high school rugby teams in Minnesota; they are all located in the cities. With 15 players per team, running, passing, and kicking is all incorporated with rugby. During a scrum (short for scrummage), players interlock their arms, put their heads down and push forward trying to gain possession of the ball. To score, one is to ground the ball in the opponent’s goal area. That is then followed up by a field goal-like kick for an extra 2 points. That is then called a ‘converted try’ Rugby is considered a college club sport. Meaning anyone can go out for it. 

Mavericks game schedule

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