Bozeman Cutthroats Rugby

The Bozeman Cutthroats are not a new sub-species of trout, as the name might suggest. They are, in fact, Bozeman’s own rugby team. The Cutthroats have been around since 1993, playing the rough-and-tumble football for which they are notorious. “It’s very physical, no doubt,” Cutthroat Coach Dennis Williams says. “But it’s a good game.”

Rugby is the general name for a variety of football, originating—according to English folklore—during a game of soccer in 1823, when a player picked up the ball, instead of just kicking it.

The game is played just like American football except you can’t block, and you can’t pass the ball forward. “And we don’t wear all that gear, like they do in American football,” Williams points out. The other thing they don’t do in rugby is substitute. There are 15 men on a team, but if one gets hurt, the team plays with one less player. Strategically speaking, taking out an opponent has its advantages—which may account for the tough reputation rugby players have.

The Bozeman Cutthroats belong to the Montana Rugby Union, which includes teams from Kalispell, Spokane, Butte, Helena, Billings, and two teams from Missoula. Needless to say, the teams have to travel to play. The players on the team range from 20 to 40 years old. Some are lawyers, some are construction workers, but all like to get out there and play. “We really run the gamut from very experienced players to rookies who’ve never played before,” Williams says.

Rugby has two seasons: spring and fall. The fall season begins at the end of August and goes until mid-October. Anyone who is interested playing with the Bozeman Cutthroats can call Dennis Williams at 582-4419 to sign up.