Rugby in America

Digital / Vision PeopleImages

Digital / Vision PeopleImages

Rugby is one of the most intense contact sports, featuring a rare combination of strength and speed. It is extremely similar to football, but with a lot less protective gear. NFL players are suited up from head to toe, with indestructible gear including helmets, pads, and face masks. Rugby players wear little to no padding, but the aggressive nature remains the same between the two sports. Aside from the love of competition and hard hitting aggression, players also reel in extreme health benefits. 

Rugby definitely builds upper and lower body strength, necessary for making tackles and withstanding the level of aggression that comes with a contact sport. If you intend on becoming an avid player, don't skip leg day. All of the body's power starts with leg muscles and running is a huge part of conditioning for the sport. Throughout the course of playing, you will develop speed and endurance. There will be a lot of running: a typical rugby game is 80 minutes long, broken into 40 minute halves. Throughout the high intensity game, players are always moving, making it a great source of cardio. You will never be stagnant as the game requires a fluid motion with constant sprinting that will ensure an effective cardiovascular workout because of the increased heart rate. All of that running will require some fast thinking movements and a great reaction time. Agility comes into play because of the sudden change of direction and pace, also improving flexibility. Everything seems beneficial, but I'm sure you are wondering when those hard hits to the body will actually be a plus aside from just creating pain and soreness for days. The tolerance you build will increase bone density because of the constant stress on the bones, helping to protect your internal organs and provide support for your muscles.

It is also great for mental health. Like many other competitive sports, it builds discipline that can be great for some organization in a busy schedule. It requires preparation and a structured schedule, maintaining a sense of commitment and organization. Through a structured game schedule, it is easy to meet people and gather a close circle of teammates, who can become long term friends. This can help increase self-confidence and and also foster togetherness through team oriented goals and practices. Being part of a team gives people a sense of purpose because you are no longer doing something for yourself, but others are relying on you as well. The feeling of a team effort is an effective way to reduce stress because you are helping others accomplish a goal and also breaking barriers for yourself by reading a new level in your athletic pursuit. When you come off a great practice or game, you can leave feeling resilient and less stressed out. 

Rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in America. Originally played in England, rugby is attracting a diverse American fan base who likes the aggressive aspect of the game. It is no question that the most popular sport in the United States is football so it is no surprise that people are taking a liking to the hard hitting alternative. While it is still fairly new for some people, here are some interesting facts and misconceptions about the sport.

Fact or fiction?

Fiction/Rugby is the fastest growing sport in the United States: While Rugby is among the fastest growing, it falls behind lacrosse and even soccer. Lacrosse has been a sport that tends to be dominated by White players, receiving criticism for its lack of diversity. However, the sport continues to grow as colleges have made it big in the news and put attention on some of the top recruits in the country. Soccer has been traditionally known as a global love, becoming the central hub of Latin and European countries, but U.S. fans are becoming more engaged.

Fact/The goal is the same: The objective of both sports is to advance the ball into the opponent's end zone. Something to keep in mind is the that while a football player scores a touchdown in the end zone, a rugby player gets a try when they touch the ball down in the try zone. 

Fiction/Rugby is exactly like American football: The objectives of the two contact sports may be the same, but there are some pretty noticeable differences. Football is broken into four 15 minute quarters, while Rugby is more strenuous with two 40 minute halves. In football, there are 11 players from each team on the field, while there are 15 in Rugby. 

Fact/Rugby is an Olympic sport: The last time Rugby was played in the Olympics was in 1924, but the sport will be part of the 2016 games in Rio. The United States has been the most victorious in Olympic Rugby when it was around over 90 years ago. 

Look out for the U.S. Rugby team starting August 6-21.