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Loyola Marymount player Zach Fenoglio was something of a revelation, playing some impressive defense, working hard in the rucks, and being fairly steadfast in the set piece.
Being one of the very few DI players who made the All American touring squad, Fenoglio had some work to do to get up to speed, but he embraced the challenge.
“Being on the junior national team I had some experiences in assemblies so that helped,” Fenoglio told RUGBYMag.com. “But the pace is different at this level. I take it on as a challenge and I love it. A lot of these guys on the team play in the College Premier Division and it’s great to see these guys play because I don’t get to see them play much, if at all.”
Fenoglio said he is learning more about the different styles of play among the members of the All American squad, and also he has had to make some adjustments.
“I played prop a lot this year at Loyola, so I focused a lot on getting fitter and dropping a little bit of weight so I could play more of a hooker’s game,” he explained. “Even so, I have different responsibilities playing at a smaller school than a traditional hooker might have. I tried not to let my learning curve be an issue and I have had good experiences and good coaches at Loyola, so it’s not an issue.”
Physically imposing and mobile, Fenoglio worked hard to ensure his throwing was on the money, and he said it takes game situations to really nail those down.
“You can practice those lineouts all you want, but you need game situations to really get them right,” he said. “I spent a lot of time making sure I got them right in game situations. Playing hooker there’s a different mind-set you have to have compared to prop. It’s similar to prop but not the same. There’s a different approach to the game and a different kind of leadership you have to show. I’ve been enjoying the experience.”
Fenoglio has graduated from Loyola Marymount, and is now working in medical research in Los Angeles. He expects to play club rugby in LA, but has not decided on a club yet. He should be a hot property.