Club rugby gives alternative option for many student athletes

Rugby is on the rise, not only internationally, but closer to home in Chandler and Gilbert, Arizona.  

Several Perry students have taken up the rough game and enjoy all of the physical contact that comes along with it.

It is the perfect game for teens to get out on the field and release their anger in a safe and healthy way.

Junior rugby player Nick Lopez said, “Rugby offers the physicality that American Football does and it is also a continual game…”

However, the aggressive nature of the game raises many concerns regarding concussions and injuries. Junior Noah Lata said, “Honestly, there really aren’t [too many injuries]. Last season, we only had two concussions on our team… it’s all from tackling, there is no spearing, which is why there aren’t many injuries.”

Before the season begins, players are “trained how to tackle the correct way and how to avoid injuries in rucks, scrums, etc.” according to junior Keaton Lewis, a member of the Chandler United Rugby Club.

Chandler United Youth Rugby Football Club is the club in which many of Perry’s students take part in, coached by Rich Duncan, an off-campus coach. Another local team is Red Mountain Rugby, which is coached by off-campus coach OJ Hawea.  

Duncan, coach of the ‘Crusaders’ Rugby team and Chandler Youth Rugby Club mentioned, “Arizona has been very slow to grow in Rugby…We would like to see Perry have their own team, Basha, Chandler, Hamilton, etc.”

Here at Perry, there continues to be no rugby team or club. However, at Hamilton High School it is offered as a club sport.

Lewis said, “A Perry Rugby team would be awesome because this school has lots of great athletes, and the sport needs to grow.”

A Perry rugby team would allow for more competition between high schools, which the Chandler Unified School District never gets tired of.

When asked why he chooses to play Rugby, Junior Christian Wilhelm answered, “I like rugby because it’s very brutal yet still a gentlemen’s sport. You play and hit each other as hard as you can…then take a bow and have a luncheon afterward. ”

Rugby is always an option for athletes who enjoy physical activity, exercise, team bonding, and healthy competition.

“Rugby is art. You make it as you go along. When you see an opening, you take the opening. When you see it closing, you find another one. You try and create something to make something.” added Mic Cowled, another ‘Crusaders’ coach.

Along with the worldwide game comes meeting new people from all around the world through international competitions.

Lata said, “I enjoy meeting new people. I’ve met people from Australia and New Zealand.”

Taking part in the rising activity opens many new doors. It allows players to travel, gain scholarship opportunities, become culturally enriched, and more.

The continual aspect of the sport is what has drawn most of the attention. The game does not have long breaks, making it more energetic, exciting, and newer than popular sports in America.