For Landon Porter, it wasn’t a hard decision to come to ETSU. It was far enough from his hometown of Morristown and yet close enough to it as well.

Porter was the captain of his high school wrestling team. When he came to orientation in June, he met the captain of the Rugby Club.

Rugby was something Porter had never tried before. Anyone can join the club, so of course, he did. And he loved it.

“I love physical sports,” said Porter. “Rugby has more similarities to wrestling than football and is less dependent on size than football.”

In the last game the Rugby Club played, in Boone, North Carolina, Porter was up against the giants.

“Forwards are positions that tend to be slightly larger and more physical on the field,” Porter said.

A group of guys, each at least 300 pounds, one of which “easily weighed over 400 pounds” came onto the field.

Porter stands 5’8″ tall and weighs about 170 pounds. It just so happened that Porter was to be a forward in that game; he would be matching up with giants a lot.

“Each time I would try to ruck, the big guys would blow me out of there,” he said.

A ruck is a protective shield around the ball carrier any time he goes down. During that game, Porter felt like he was going to die.

“There were a few times that they laid on top of me,” Porter said. “I couldn’t breath, and desperately flailed my arms for air. It felt like they would never get up.”

Although in the end, they won that game.

Porter said he will definitely be playing rugby the rest of his time at ETSU.

“I want to be here to see the team grow and become better every year,” he said.

The Rugby Club is always taking new members. They practice twice a week on the field with one extra conditioning practice.