You are reading this because your son or daughter has expressed interest in playing rugby. Fear not, rugby is supported by many parents and athletes who consider it to be the safest and best sporting experience of all. Athletes all over the world play this game. In fact, rugby is often seen as a "game for life." Unlike grid iron football, players may continue to participate long after their school athletic career has come to a close. Players may continue to play rugby for years to come by joining local collegiate and adult clubs. This is intended to help you better understand the game of rugby and lay to rest any fear or doubt you may have about your child’s participation.
Rugby features elements of physical contact, but is no more intense than other popular sports. In comparison to gird iron football, some experts even consider it a safer game. This logic is justified by several reasons including the fact that rugby allows neither blocking nor rigid protective equipment. This eliminates the incidence of athletes striking each other with hard plastic helmets and shoulder pads or encountering blind side contact. Also, dangerous play is treated as a serious offense and not tolerated by officials. Players may be ordered off the field or even suspended as rugby places equal importance on sportsmanship and winning. Here are some other reasons rugby is appealing:
Rugby is a game of possession, not yardage. Coaching technique emphasizes passing before being tackled and other skills aimed at retaining possession. This is in place of struggling to gain yards while opponents attempt to stop players at all costs.
The myth that rugby is less safe because it does not include blocking is simply untrue. As mentioned, players are less likely to fall victim to unexpected defensive hits. In other sports, space is created by brute force. Rugby encourages the use of evasion and misdirection which creates opportunities to run plays and score points. Nearly all collisions can be anticipated, allowing athletes to better prepare for contact situations.
Tacklers must wrap their arms around an opponent. Absolutely no tackling is allowed above the shoulders.
If it occurs, it is strictly penalized. This not only makes for safer play, but for higher success rates in completing tackles. Coaches instruct players on how to tackle as well as how to receive a tackle.
With the support from MYRO, rugby became the 35th sport of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) in 2016, following a 2015 MIAA vote that passed by a wide majority. As of 2015, there were 19 boys’ teams and 5 girls’ teams in Massachusetts, with the majority of the Catholic Conference schools fielding rugby teams. In 2017, 668 boys single-school and multi-school teams were active during the 15s season.
Rugby and popular culture
Rugby has been the choice of many well-known individuals. Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, John F. Kennedy and Pope John Paul played rugby.. Ted Kennedy played at Harvard, while Boris Karloff founded the Southern California Rugby Football Union. Actors David Niven and Richard Harris played rugby both on and off the screen and even Sean Connery played during his school days. J.R.R. Tolkien played at Oxford and Price William. Along with Russell Crowe, late Chris Farley, even Meat Loaf. The popularity of rugby was given a minor boost when it was featured in the fourth season of Friends in the episode The One with all the rugby, broadcast February 26, 1998. Rugby was also featured prominently in the 2008 movie Forever Strong. Rugby was also featured briefly in the film The Departed, by virtue of being set in Boston's Irish community. Executive and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was a competitive rugby athlete during his college days. The movie Invictus, tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela, in his first term as President of South Africa, initiates a unique venture to unite the Apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
Rugby was an Olympic sport from 1900 to 1924, and the United States won the gold medal twice, in Antwerp (1920) and Paris (1924). The International Olympic Committee voted to allow Rugby Sevens to be played again in the 2016 Olympic Games. Nate Ebner, New England Patriot and Super Bowl champion and United States Olympian, competed for USA in the 2016 Games.
The New England Free Jacks are a professional rugby union team in Major League Rugby based in the Greater Boston area. They were announced in September 2018 and began to compete professionally in October 2018. They competed in their first season in MLR in the 2020 season.
These and many others are all proud members of the rugby community!
Finally, rugby players are all unique individuals who are unafraid of taking on a new challenge. This legendary game mixes strength, speed, agility, and welcomes athletes of all shapes and sizes. Be proud that your son or daughter wishes to stand out as a person as well as an athlete. Welcome to your new sport!