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RAPADAS: FOR THE LOVE OF THE CLUB

The Saint Mary’s Mens Rugby Club didn’t know they were inheriting a tireless work horse into their program during the 2012 season and Guam’s 22-year-old Danilo Rapadas was able to crack the A team after working his way from the C team as a freshman. He’s since won a national title with the school and continues to play out of pure love for the sport.

By Robert Balajadia

The Saint Mary’s Mens Rugby Club didn’t know they were inheriting a tireless work horse into their program during the 2012 season and Guam’s 22-year-old Danilo Rapadas was able to crack the A team after working his way from the C team as a freshman.

His club ended up winning the national title, 21-6 over Life University in May of 2014, with Rapadas heavy in the rotation.

“It was great to be a part of it. It’s a great group of guys and we train hard from September through December and our seasons start from January and go through May, so I hardly ever have any free time,” said Rapadas on winning the title with the Gaels.

Rapadas, a former FD Friar, and his long history of playing sports had more than prepared him to handle a balancing act in academics and athletics, but his involvement in the sport was fueled by pure love of the game.

Club rugby is a voluntarily based sports program and those willing to put in the work will make the team.

A recent photo of Rapadas in game action during a January match. (courtesy photo)

A recent photo of Rapadas in game action during a January match. (courtesy photo)

As if trying to complete his bachelors degree in Business, with a focus on entrepreneurship, wasn’t difficult enough, Rapadas’ commitment to playing rugby for the Club since his freshman year and has been on the team since.

“We go through brutal work and sometimes look at each other and ask ‘why are we here?’. In the end, we all love the game and just want to get better. It really takes a lot of dedication, hard work, and you really have to love the sport,” responded Rapadas after reflecting on his involvement with the Club.

Summertime provides a brief window for Rapadas to take rugby off of his schedule, but even then he tries to stay involved with the Club’s off-season activities.

He’s the only member of the squad from Guam, but his fitting in was never an issue with the diverse group of talent on the team. Some of his teammates aren’t too unfamiliar playing with a kid from Guam having played with Guam’s most famous rugby star in USA National team member Zach Pangelinan.

“I was probably the only person from Guam they’ve ever played with, though some older guys have played with [Zach] on the U.S. team. It’s interesting, they are all aware I’m from Guam and they respect my skill set.”

Rapadas’ relationship with Pangelinan is great on a rugby level, but the road to Rapadas’ rugby future is not something he’s planning on traveling down as did Pangelinan.

“I can’t say that I want to get to where [Zach] is at, I’m just realistically looking forward to advancing my career,” admitted Danilo.

Rapadas catches an inbound toss in a game from the 2014 season. (courtesy photo)

Rapadas catches an inbound toss in a game from the 2014 season. (courtesy photo)

Rugby is still an ever-growing sport on Guam and athletes like Pangelinan and Rapadas prove that Guam has all the talent to be successful. Rapadas expressed that he’s learned a great deal of the game from his Club coaches and that he now has a different view of the sport since his high school involvement.

Though the patterns and plays look a whole lot different, the one thing that hasn’t changed is his supporting cast, his parents Danilo and Janet Rapadas.

“My parent’s support has been tremendous. Without them, I wouldn’t even be in college. Every week before the game I make sure to always talk to them beforehand, it helps me prepare mentally.”

Rapadas is already in the swing of his 2015 season with his Club aiming to capture a second straight title. Take a look at some of the work he goes through in preparing for the season in the video below! (Rapadas is spotted from the 8-12 opening seconds)

[youtube id=”S6KFPIj8_VY” width=”620″ height=”360″]

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