LOS, ANGELES, CA – If you ask anybody in the United States to tell you one thing about the University of Southern California, better known as USC, many would answer with… Their illustrious football program.
For better or for worse the Trojans owned the nation’s best college football program in the early-2000s, winning 11 national championships in program history, most recently in 2003 and 2004, and producing players like Reggie Bush, Junior Seau, Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Troy Polamalu and others.
But these days on the USC campus, rugby is starting to hit its stride. Led by USC walk-on punter Joey Krassenstein, the USC rugby program is “alive and well” according to the Daily Trojan.
Krassenstein is a senior this year and the rugby club president as a member of both the 15’s and 7’s squads.
The fly half/center was recently asked to compare the two sports, by both style and physicality.
“Rugby is fluid, free moving, meaning it never stops,” Krassenstein said, according to the Daily Trojan. “It only stops for penalties.
“There’s actually a lot less injuries, and definitely fewer career-ending injuries in rugby than in American football. If you asked me which sport is tougher, I’d say football. Because the play is shorter and guys are using protective gear such as shoulder pads and helmets, players go full steam ahead. In rugby if you’re going to hit someone, you have to wrap up and go down with them.”
However, Krassenstein wasn’t new to the sport when he enrolled at the Los Angeles school a few years ago. The Shanghai native came to university with a plethora of rugby experience. While attending high school at Shanghai American School Puxi Campus in China, Krassenstein played rugby, earning All-Asia honors in his senior year. In 2011 the 22-year-old played even played semi-pro rugby with the Shanghai Hairy Crabs.
Krassenstein and the rest of the Trojans have a bit more to play for this season, with their head coach David Lytle retiring at the end of the campaign, making the squad and interesting one to watch.
The former punter and rest of the USC 7’s team played in the Pac-12 Tournament this weekend.
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