Player Profile: William Wang

What's your favorite UT Rugby memory?

Traveling to Berkeley and playing the Cal Bears in 15s. Even though we got soundly beat, it was still a great learning experience playing a perennial top 5 team in the nation. Aside from that, traveling with the team to California was an incredibly fun trip and something that I will always remember.

Why did you start playing rugby? What are your favorite rugby memories before you started playing for UT?

I actually never considered rugby something I’d want to play. I had a close friend who was considering joining our high school team but got was hesitant. I went with him to watch a high school rugby game and what I saw was a fast-paced, physical, and exciting game that was love at first sight and I ended up convincing him to join the Westlake High School rugby team with me. One of my favorite rugby memories before playing for UT has to be going undefeated my senior season of high school and helping Westlake win its first state championship. This moment was made even sweeter because we had lost in the state finals the year before.

What do you like the most about our program? How does it shape up to other programs you have been involved with?

The UT rugby program’s commitment to excellence is what I like most. You don’t see many programs where you have guys committed to 6 am workouts and two-a-day practices week in and week out, alongside the commitment to a rigorous academic course load that being at one of the nation’s top universities requires. Not only that, but we have a lot of young/new players who are hungry to grow in the sport and we have the coaching staff and organization in place now to facilitate that.

Favorite memory from UT in general?

It’s hard to pick one, but it’s been an incredible four years here at UT, in part to a really diverse and thriving student body that really highlights all that the school and city of Austin have to offer. All the shared experiences and the people that I’ve been around are things I hold dear.

How has rugby shaped your Longhorn experience?

UT is known for bringing out the best in people through challenges, and being a Longhorn means applying that sense of determination to the struggles you face. I think rugby became my biggest outlet for that by inspiring me to develop my character and bring out a sense of leadership I didn’t see in myself before.

What do you plan to do once you're out of college?

I plan to move up to Chicago after I graduate. Other than that, I hope to not be another unemployed college grad :)

Advice for new players or any rugby player in general?

No matter how successful you get, always stay humble and don’t be afraid of hard work. Even the best players don’t have perfect games and in order to improve you need to have a growth mindset of learning new things and maintaining the fundamentals. Speaking from personal experience, I’ve never been the strongest, fastest, or had the best mind for the game. In its place comes hard work. I spent my first two years at UT as a backup to some really good players, but during this time I managed to put on about 40 pounds, went to almost every practice and workout, and was not afraid to ask for advice from those around me. In the two years after, I became team captain and earned 2nd Team All-Conference nods. It can be easy to forget about how you got to that position, and I personally had a moment of realization: I used to practice my hooker throws almost every day, but I had fallen out of the habit. It wasn’t until I was struggling with my throws that I was rudely reminded that even the simplest fundamentals are something that need to be worked persistently on. So to the new player, hard work is the key to improving and growing in the sport, but as you grow, don’t forget to stay humble and be a student of the game.

Favorite food? Weird fact about you?

A weird fact about me is that I’ve never scored a try in a varsity 15s game in either high school or college. I can't pick a favorite food. I love all kinds and spend way too money on food.



Ashwin Hareesh