Sports spotlight | The Elephants’ favorite number is 1972

Rugby training always goes ahead, on asphalt if need be

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Sports spotlight | The Elephants’ favorite number is 1972

TU/e boasts a total of 38 student sports associations. And every one of them offers its own unique experience: from slamming aces to skimming across the water. At student sports center SSC, you get a wide range of options to choose from: gaming, jumping, running, cycling, rowing, flying, shooting, hanging, playing chess, surfing, punching and pushing. Cursor wants to put every one of these associations in the spotlight. The first question is “What is your favorite number?”

photo Kjeld Nieuwendijk

Warming up

1972 is ESRC The Elephants’ favorite number because it is the year the student rugby association was founded. At The Elephants, every member gives it their all, “because holding back just doesn’t work in this sport,” says chairman Otto Kaandorp. Sometimes - think back to last fall - it rains for such a long time that the rugby field on Vijfkamplaan cannot be used. And if The Elephants don’t manage to 'snag' the hockey fields at SCC, they’ll make do with a parking lot for training if necessary. Because training goes ahead no matter what!

The basic principle of rugby is: Run forward and pass backwards. If this goes wrong, a scrum is played to put the ball back into play. The goal is to ground the oval ball in the try zone. Yes, sometimes the jerseys get dirty and nobody minds that, except perhaps the person on laundry duty that week.


  • There are almost 100 Elephants and more than 100 Oldphants (reunion members);
  • There is 1 women’s team, 1 men’s team and 1 men’s team combined with Tilburg;
  • This is the 51st board;
  • Elephants wear their rugby gear 6-7 hours a week;
  • A field is 144 x 70 meters (Otto had to look that up too);
  • A match lasts 2 x 40 minutes and they only need 5 minutes of rest in between;
  • It cost 400 euros to replace the shirts that “a certain member who had laundry duty that week” left at the meeting place just before an away game in Breda;
  • The association song has 5 important words, which they prefer to yell rather than sing: “Lang leve de Elephants nondeju” [Long live the Elephants, for Chrissakes!];
  • They play in the 2nd division, which is quite a high level.


Rugby is an outdoor sport and Ameland can attest to that. Every year in June, a big beach rugby tournament takes place there, and the whole island is full of rugby players, including most of the Elephants.

In 2018, The Elephants emerged victorious at the Dutch Student Championships (NSK); since then, no more Rugby NSKs have been organized. The reigning NSK champion invites any interested student to come and join them for a training session. Please send them an email if you like to do so.

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