Rugby Draws More Excitement in the Triangle and Nationwide

rugby

Once upon a time, rugby wasn’t a sport that many American parents considered for their children. That is changing. Rugby is among the fastest growing team sports in the U.S.

Rugby centers around respect.

Recently, the Highlanders Youth Rugby Club’s Head Coach Brett Wastie, Club President Finbar Gallagher and Founder Robert Joseph met in Chapel Hill to discuss why Americans are taking to rugby in such large numbers.

According to Gallagher, a big factor is that American parents love the culture of rugby. It centers around respect. That means respect for teammates, coaches, officials and the other team.

Parents who come to rugby matches talk about how the crowd applauds scores by both teams and are proud of the way their players learn to cheer for their opponents at the end of a game, whether it is a win or loss. After the match, the home team often shares a meal with their visitors. Of course, the goal is to win, but at the end of the day the friendships that come from having played the game are the things that last a lifetime.

MANY WAYS TO PLAY

Robert Joseph helped his sons and their classmates at East Chapel Hill High School found the Highlanders 16 years ago after an enormously successful International Day seminar grabbed the interest of students.

Joseph explains there are many ways to play rugby. Children, both boys and girls, can start playing flag or touch rugby at a young age. They can then progress into tackle rugby through middle school and into adulthood.

Joseph explains there are many ways to play rugby. Children, both boys and girls, can start playing flag or touch rugby at a young age. They can then progress into tackle rugby through middle school and into adulthood.

There are high school teams, men’s and women’s leagues, and “old boys” leagues that cater to players in their golden years. There is even a version of the sport called 7-a-side rugby, or rugby sevens. It is a fast, nonstop sport.

NEED FOR SPEED

Coach Wastie says that players like the speed of the game and like the way players can be involved in every aspect of a game during a full 70 or 80 minutes. Trust is given to rugby players to learn to make their own decisions.

Players like the speed of the game and that they can be involved in every aspect of a game.

Rugby can find a place on the pitch (field) for players of all types. Rugby doesn’t care if you are fast, slow, big or small. There is a place for every kind of player if they are willing to give it a try. This, combined with the fact that every player on the pitch working to- gether is critical to the success of the team, helps young players grow into confident adults.

Come to Play

Rugby is growing quickly in the Triangle and, as an area club with a great history, the Highlanders are looking forward to introducing many young people to the sport.

“No experience is necessary,” says Coach Wastie. The Highlanders wel- come boys and girls from seven years old through high school. They accept players from anywhere but are primarily based in Orange, Durham and Chatham counties.

For interested young people from other parts of the Triangle, there are other great youth rugby clubs they can join, according to Highlanders President Finbar Gallagher. Check out the Raleigh Redhawks and Cary, Clayton, Greensboro and Southern Pines Rugby Clubs.

Join the Highlanders

Interested in rugby? Learn more about the Highlanders at www.highlandersrfc.org; email them at chhighlanders@gmail.com; or call (919)590-9448.

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