Students hope to increase interest in rugby

The Rugby Club looks to educate students and grow student interest and involvement in playing the sport. Students learn the fundamentals, which they can apply when games begin in the spring.

To teach students about the rules and how to play rugby, junior Ben Girton has created the Rugby Club. When practices start in the spring, for community teams and the club, the students will not feel overwhelmed by the game.
During the meetings, the members watch rugby together. “[The experienced members] would… explain to [the inexperienced members] what’s going on and how the game works,” junior Jakob Marshall said. “It’s just a good environment to learn.”
The club aims to grow the popularity of rugby in Souderton. “The main point is to learn and educate people on the sport,” Marshall said.
“[Rugby is] not very popular around here,” junior Nick Haynes said. “I watched professional games [while living in France.]” This experience sparked Haynes’ interest in the sport.
The main goal of the club is to get more students from Souderton interest in playing rugby. “That’s why I started the whole thing,” Girton said. “I wanted a way for us to figure out [how to teach people how to play.]”
“You hope that the student sticks around long enough to learn the game,” Rugby Club advisor Mike Sciarra said. “This way, hopefully we will give [the student] a leg-up for [when] practice actually starts.”
Athletes from other sports are welcome. “It usually complements things like football and wrestling,” Sciarra said.
Sciarra has already tried to recruit female wrestler Trinity Monaghan to play rugby. “Rugby is an interesting sport,” Monaghan said, “and I think it would be cool to try something new.”
There is a local girls’ rugby team called the Valkyries. “The girls’ team is really successful,” Sciarra said. “They’ve won a couple state titles.”
According to Marshall, rugby and football are similar, but many people prefer rugby because it does not stop as much as football does. “Football is like, one tackle, one play and then you wait another five minutes,” Marshall said. “Rugby is constant.”
Both boys and girls are encouraged to join the club. “Internationally [rugby is] a mostly male-dominated sport,” Marshall said, “but as far as teams around here… everybody can play [and] can learn the sport.”
The club is looking to gain more members. “We’ve had a handful of students come, [we’re] still waiting to hit the double digit mark,” Sciarra said.
Another aspect of rugby is the friendships formed. “You get closer to your friends because they’re the ones protecting you,” Girton said.
According to junior Angelo Lepara, the boys on the Iron Lions, the local boys’ team, are like “brothers”
The Iron Lions make the sport more accessible according to Girton. “[The community club has] always had some [kids] from Souderton come,” Sciarra said. “It’s never been a huge presence.”
“[I wanted to] get more people from the school,” Girton said, “[because from] Souderton, it’s only me, Angelo and Jacob that play.”
The Iron Lions are a community team in the Montgomery Bucks Amateur Rugby Association that is open to “any high school male athlete grades 9-12 from any of the area high schools,” as stated on the Iron Lions Twitter.
The process of gaining players from Souderton continues to grow. “We’re definitely getting more people from Souderton as time goes on, but it’s slow,” Marshall said. “It’s still progress so I’m excited.”