FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. - Brent Nelson has several reasons to be excited about the challenge set before his Iowa Central rugby team this Saturday.
The Tritons will head to St. Paul Recreational Sports Fields to take on the University of Minnesota at 1 p.m.
For Nelson, not only is it an incredible challenge and experience for his players to take on a Div. I Big Ten program, but an opportunity for family to see him coach the squad.
"I get to coach in front of my brother and niece," Nelson said. "He makes me proud every day doing what he does with the children's hospital in the Twin Cities. I would like to make him proud, too.
"I know he is, but it would be cool for him to see what the Iowa Central rugby program is capable of."
Nelson introduced his brother to the sport while attending the Minnesota high school championships this past summer.
"It was the first time he saw rugby and he liked it," Nelson said. "He was an athlete growing up and I think he would appreciate seeing the Tritons level of play."
That level will be challenged by the Gophers, who have the legendary Sean "Snacks" Lindersmith on the coaching staff.
"He is well known in the rugby community as being an innovator and supporter of grassroots rugby," Nelson said. "He is also well connected in USA Rugby. He has taken over the Gopher program and elevated it. Under him, it will only get better.
"Besides that, they are our neighbors and we have Minnesota kids on our roster. It will be great for them to go back to their home state and play in front of family and friends. Plus, if we play well and maybe pull off the win, it could help us build a resume to the national playoff pathway."