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Rugby is a sport that people throughout the world play from grade school age to adulthood.  It is a form of football that is played on a field known as a pitch with an oval ball.  It is a fast paced, team-oriented game that is very physical.  You can not throw or pass the ball forward so the ball is advanced by running, lateral passing or kicking.  A tackle does not end the play, it continues and the teams form a compacted line of scrimmage to try to drive each other off the ball.  

Type of Play

Players under the age of 12 play Touch Rugby, which is a two hand tag version of tackle rugby.  There is no tackling allowed, contact is minimal and pushing is regulated.  The contact should be in the range of what you see in soccer or basketball.  A player is considered tackled when a member of the opposing team touches him/her with both hands.  After 12 years old tackling is permitted by the play is closely monitored for anything resembling dangerous play.

Youth Rugby

Youth Rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States today.  It is played by athletes 14 and under.  Children are divided into age appropriate groups. Boys and girls interested in trying a fast-paced, team-oriented sport should consider participating in rugby.  Most clubs will accept new players throughout the season. 

These programs are designed to introduce children to the skills and concepts of rugby.  It is the process of developing young rugby players, both boys and girls, from non-contact touch rugby to a full 15 side high school level team.  

Emphasis is placed on safety, good sportsmanship, building confidence and fair play.   If your child is inexperienced do not let that stop them from joining the Rugby team.  It does not require a specific skill set like many other sports.  Despite your child's size, shape, or weight there is a place for them on the rugby team.  Coaches need players with a wide range of abilities to fill all of the positions, and they will focus on building the skills and knowledge needed to succeed. 

Touch Rugby

Younger kids start with playing Touch Rugby which is a two hand touch game. The play, for older kids, advances to Tackle Rugby which is a contact sport played under close supervision of qualified referees. 

CoEd Teams

You may find co-ed teams during the younger years when children are playing touch rugby but once they get older female ruby athletes have their own teams and practice and compete separately from their male counterparts.  Game rules are the same for both teams so the girls, tackle and get tackled during play. Women's rugby is a very popular club on American college campuses. 

High School Rugby

Once they hit the high school age there are many schools that have rugby programs for both boys are girls.  You will find however, that in many locations it is a recognized school clubs.  This means that the school district does not offer financial support but allows the team to use school facilities for games and practices.  Players are permitted to have rugby listed on their high school transcript and can receive "letters" for participating. However since they do not get school funding the teams must use dues and fundraising to support their activities, liability insurance and medical support.