One of the world’s most popular sports, an Olympic sport in which the United States is improving fast, has arrived in Urbana.
The Urbana Black Racers Rugby Football Club is recruiting players for the Spring 2016 season, when boys’ and girls’ teams will play at high school level.
Anyone interested in attending a team meeting at Sparky’s Pizzeria in Urbana on February 15 at 6 p.m. is welcome to do so.
Coach Thoron Byrd, who founded the club earlier this year, says students from all schools in the Champaign County area are welcome.
“I wanted to bring the sport to our community because it is such a fun game, and a tremendous team-oriented sport,” says Byrd, a Navy veteran who played rugby for three teams in Japan and two in Seattle.
The boys’ team will play in the Dayton Area Conference, taking on South Dayton, Miami County, the Dayton Aeros and the Northern Force.
Byrd also hopes to establish a men’s team in the Urbana area.
Rugby is one of the most popular sports in the world, with 120 million people worldwide watching October’s Rugby World Cup Final in England, and it’s one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States.
The US didn’t make it out of the preliminary stages at the World Cup, but they are beginning to make their mark in Rugby Sevens, which as the name suggests has seven players on each team rather than the usual 15.
The US has been improving in recent years on the World Sevens Series circuit and in the past three weeks has beaten New Zealand, the World Sevens Series winners for 12 of the past 16 years, three times.
Two of those wins were at the Dubai Sevens, where the US team placed third.
“I have been going to high school phys-ed classes all week telling kids about the Dubai Sevens results, and they are pumped!” Byrd says.
That results suggests the US is not without a hope of winning a medal when Rugby Sevens makes its Olympic debut at Rio De Janeiro next year.
It has been announced by Pro Rugby North America that Ohio will have a professional rugby team to play in the Pro Rugby League in its inaugural season this Spring. The team will be headquartered out of Obetz, Ohio.
Those interested in playing can also visit the Urbana Rugby Football Club on Facebook or Twitter.
Submitted by Urbana Rugby Football Club.