Bishop leads Syracuse Hammerheads rugby team with personality, haircuts, ambition

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Lying on their stomachs in the grass by the goalposts at the end of their Sept. 12 training session, the Syracuse Hammerheads looked upfield as one of their coaches prepared to kick a 40-meter goal that, if successful, would call for one nominated player to receive a custom haircut from the team.This tradition, known as Barber Shop Friday, is an end-of-the-week staple for the SU club rugby team. The team planned to give back row sophomore Tug Hunter a haircut as sophomore captain Angus Bishop nailed the kick the week before.“We’re planning on giving him the Friar Tuck, so just shaving the top and leaving the front, like the fringe and the sides and stuff like that,” Bishop said. “I think Tim Tebow had that haircut when he was a (Denver) Bronco, so that’s what we’re looking for with that one.”Bishop has played rugby since he was 9 years old and now leads a Syracuse team that lost eight starters at the end of last year. While his personality helps to keep the team atmosphere fun and spread awareness of the team, the sophomore back row’s goal for this season is to earn a spot in the Empire Rugby Conference championship game.Bishop, a Sydney, Australia native, was drawn to SU by its sport management program. He wouldn’t have gone to a school without a rugby team, he said.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“In Australia, rugby is a lot like football here. It’s the contact sport and you grow up watching it,” Bishop said. “I played soccer and decided it wasn’t violent enough for me.”Bishop manages to keep a level head both in and out of the game. During practice, he said, everybody is “switched on,” but when there is a break in the action, he tries to keep his teammates in good spirits by cracking jokes on the sidelines.And at the end of practices, he’ll give motivational speeches and, at the end of the school week, enforce Barber Shop Friday.“On the field he’s calm and collected, and that sets a good tone for the rest of the team,” said inside center freshman Eddie McCarthy.His role as captain translates off the field as well. When McCarthy moved into his dorm for rugby preseason, Bishop helped him and two other freshmen, scrum-half Steve Ardizzone and flanker Jake Smith, move into Day Hall.Though it’s only his second year on the squad, Bishop quickly became a leader on the team, making him a strong candidate for captain.The captain selection process consists of nominations from coaches and players followed by a team election. The decision to make Bishop captain for this season “was pretty much a no-brainer,” second row junior Jack Foure said.“I’d say from Day One when Angus came in last year, we knew he had something special,” Foure said.One of Bishop’s duties as captain is to spread the word about the team around campus.The team always has a strong presence at involvement fairs, and in Bishop’s words, it would be “pretty much impossible” to miss them.“We like to kind of just go up to people because obviously it’s a very nervous time for them,” said Bishop. “They’ve got a big decision on their hands and so we like to try and just give them a face, give them a name, somebody they can contact … and just help them out a bit with their transition.”Despite having many of those new players in the team, Bishop said he is confident he and his Syracuse teammates can reach the Empire Rugby Conference championship. He’s just glad he gets to captain them.

“I didn’t really question why they did it,” said Bishop. “I was just thankful for it.” Comments Published on October 1, 2014 at 12:12 am Contact Kevin: [email protected]last_img

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