Currently, MTSU rugby coach Jody Hensley has been a very busy man as the sport as a whole is making several changes in preparations for the sport's inclusion into the 2016 Summer Olympics.
However, he also had a chance last month to help coach a USA rugby team against Mexico in Mexico City.
The team that made the trip was constructed of players that were on teams that are part of USA Rugby South. Tryouts were open to any player from that area of the nation in New Orleans. After a few days of tryouts, the team was cut to 22 players that earned the right to play against Mexico.
On April 7, the newly formed team traveled to the third largest city in the world. However, they had to deal with the 7,000 feet of altitude come match time.
Two days later, the teams met on the pitch in which the game was contested with 15 players on a side. Hensley was one of the assistant coaches on the squad.
In the opening half, the USA converted on two three-point penalty kicks to take a 6-0 halftime advantage.
However, the second half would be a different story as the altitude finally caught up to USA at the midway point. Mexico outscored USA 25-3 during that time period and the final score was 25-9.
"They gelled really well, but you can't prepare for the altitude unless you go there about a week before hand to get use to it," Hensley said. "There is a not a lot you can do. We just had to train them as hard as we can."
Overall, Hensley said the team had a great time in Mexico City, because a lot of them, including himself had not traveled there before.
"It was a really good experience," he said.
They got to do a lot of site seeing, including riding in a bus that was used for the 1968 Summer Olympics.
In the meantime, the team was eliminated from the tournament that was sanctioned by the NACRA. However, Hensley announced a few days ago that the same team will travel to Jamaica in June to face their national team.
Besides being a part of the USA Rugby South team, Hensley as been working hard to get MTSU ready for the upcoming season.
In 2016 rugby returns to the Summer Games in Brazil, but the format will have seven players on a side. The games are a lot shorter and more fast-paced than the traditional 15 on 15 game.
The Moosemen and their conference will be preparing for that format next season.
Hensley said he has been on the recruiting trail, including attending the high school championships last week. He also said California should be the favorite to win the tournament that will be shown on NBC and Versus next month.