The Rugby Rookie League is ready to start up in South Boston (tonight, June 30, at Moakley Field on the soccer pitch, 6 p.m.).  It’s for beginners, 8- to 12-year-olds, both boys and girls.  No previous rugby experience is necessary.  Learn fitness, skilled teamwork, and respect for your fellow rugby players.  These are the keys to playing rugby well.

   In an interview on Monday, June 27, with Bill Good, himself a rugby veteran and now the President of MYRO (the Massachusetts Youth Rugby Organization), he spoke of how popular the sport of rugby has become – both around Boston and all over the world.  For the first time, rugby will be an official Olympic sport at the upcoming Games in Rio de Janeiro.  There’s already a World Cup rugby tournament.  You may not have heard about it, but an American rugby league has started up – a five-team league, with the nearest team in Ohio.

There’s a Boston Rugby Club, and some 30 or 40 teams in Eastern Massachusetts.  In addition, there are many college teams – Northeastern, BU, Harvard, MIT, and so on.  Wentworth has a mixed rugby team, drawing upon female players from Simmons, Emmanuel, and Wheelock.

Bill Good is starting a six-week Rookie Rugby League right here in South Boston – Tuesdays (6 till 7:30 p.m.) in Saunders Stadium at Moakley Field, and Thursdays on the Moakley Field soccer pitch (also 6 till 7:30 p.m.).  It is for both boys and girls, ages 8 to 12.  It begins today, Thursday, June 30, as you are reading this.  It will end on Thursday, August 4.

Bill hopes to field four teams in the new Rugby Rookie League with around 40 players, so there’s plenty of room for any of you who are in that 8-12 age bracket.  Bill has lined up four coaches – himself, Jesse Nocon, Auggie Coll, and a high school rugby player (to be named).   And once again, remember that Rookie Rugby is open to both boys and girls, equals up.

Rugby is often compared to American football, but that really isn’t accurate.  Rugby depends upon its players being very fit – there’s a lot of non-stop running.  Much more important, rugby is a superb team sport.  Every player can carry the ball; you must often pass (backwards) to your teammates, and you always have to decide whether to go for the ball or to get open in order to make a run.  Play consists of every player doing every job – running, passing, offense, defense.  As Bill Good says, “Rugby is more about finding space, not about contact.”

The Rookie Rugby League emphasizes safety.  You’ll play by the same rules used in the Olympics, but it will be flag rugby here in South Boston – a no-contact style of play.  In addition, all rugby is played according to certain life values.  These values include Integrity, Respect, Solidarity, Passion, and Discipline.  Rugby is not only great fun, it’s a fine learning experience.

Moakley Field tonight, Thursday, June 30 at 6 p.m., on the soccer pitch.  Next session, Tuesday, July 5 at 6 p.m., Moakley Field in Saunders Stadium.   See you there.