You may think you know, but you have no idea.

Well, at least that’s the point the UCSB men’s rugby team is trying to get across.

“A lot of people think rugby is just football without pads,” senior prop Nate Pinkston said. “People think you have to be big to play rugby, but some of our best players are smaller.”

Santa Barbara will play Arizona State this Friday in Harder Stadium at 7 p.m and the University of Arizona on Sunday.

The Santa Barbara rugby squad is also trying to show the other teams in its league that its 2002 last-place finish was just a fluke. This year it is going after the gold and is determined to finish at least second in the league and qualify for the Sweet 16.

“It is a goal of the team this year,” UCSB Head Coach Kevin Battle said. “The guys really want it. They are putting in the hard work because they want to do it.”

This year the team has the talent and experience to achieve its goals. With the majority of the first-side team returning from last year, UCSB confidently looks forward to making some waves in this tough season.

“This Sunday [against University of Arizona] is our first real test,” sophomore prop Andrew King said. “They have the only returning All-American in our league.”

Santa Barbara is really aching for some strong competition after destroying UCSD 38-13 on Jan. 18 and pummeling UCLA 52-11 last Saturday. UCSB must first get by ASU on Friday.

“We shouldn’t have a problem on Friday,” Pinkston said. “Our test will be with U of A on Sunday. We’ll have played two games this weekend and so will they.”

In the midst of all the tackling and ball handling, the team is raffling off a truck at halftime on Friday. The team bought the truck from Graham Chevrolet so it could raffle it off for a fund-raiser. They also hope that this raffle will be an incentive for students to come out and see what rugby is all about.

“Rugby is all about going out and having fun,” King said. “You cannot fully experience rugby without going out and seeing it.”

The team is definitely willing to sacrifice its time to have fun, but the players know they have to put in the hard work. UCSB practices Monday through Thursday and has extra conditioning practices on Monday and Wednesday.

“I’m really looking forward to winning and being better than last year,” King said. “We are all taking steps to be in the top of our league.”

Along with the help of Andrew Negus, a current member of the Under-19 U.S. National Team, and the team’s co-captains, Ty Vernon and Tim Lew, every member of the team is gearing up for this weekend and plans on coming out victorious.

“It’s a tough weekend, but I’m pretty confident about my team,” Battle said. “I think we’ll win. They want it.”

Santa Barbara hopes to start off strong because after this weekend the squad still has to get through San Diego, Long Beach State, SDSU, and Cal Poly.

“We have to beat U of A and Cal Poly,” Pinkston said. “If we can beat them, we are guaranteed to go to the Sweet 16, which we haven’t been to in seven or eight years.”