Successful introduction of rugby in Indian River fosters new Rugby Club

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Indian River Rugby Club has recently been formed, fostered by the successful introduction of rugby in Indian River County over the past three years.

In September 2008, Sebastian River High School, with the assistance of USA Rugby, established the first High School Girls’ Varsity Rugby Program in the USA. During the recently completed 2010/11 season, the Lady Sharks won both the State of Florida and USA Rugby South U19/High School Championships and competed in the USA U19 National Championships in Sandy, UT.

“Indian River County is rapidly becoming recognized by the Florida Rugby Union as a center of excellence,” said Peter Dobson, Rugby Club president. “The formation of Indian River Rugby Club is the next logical step, raising the profile of the sport, creating interest for all age groups and providing a vehicle to enhance individual fitness, skills and teamwork on a year round basis.”

“It is initially intended to offer Rookie Rugby to grades 4 & 5, Youth Rugby at middle school level and U19/High School for grades 9 thru 12. We presently have 4 coaches in the club including myself,” added Allan Dobson head coach of Rugby Club and the SRHS Lady Sharks varsity program. “Subject to demand and availability of coaching the Club will also run adult teams for both women and men.”

Many of the SRHS graduating seniors have gone on to play rugby at colleges and universities both within the State of Florida and elsewhere, including two girls from the 2011 graduating class who received scholarships to play rugby at Quinnipiac University, CT and Lindenwood University, St Charles, MO.

In January 2010, with the agreement of the Indian River School District, Rookie Rugby, a non-contact flag based form of the game was introduced into the P E curriculum at elementary and middle schools. Most elementary schools and both north county middle schools are now playing Rookie Rugby, and Liberty Magnet School ran it as an after school program.

Rugby is played in over 100 countries throughout the world having started in England in the mid-19th century. It is to be re-introduced into the 2016 Olympic Games having been last played in the 1924 games when the USA won the gold medal. Both men’s and women’s teams will compete in 2016.

The Rugby World Cup, played every 4 years, will take place in New Zealand from Sept. 9 – Oct. 23. It draws a global television audience second only to the Soccer World Cup. Most major colleges in the USA have club sides for both women and men and scholarship opportunities are now becoming available.

Playing and non-playing memberships are available.

To apply for membership contact Jeff Kaltenbach, Rugby Club vice president at scrumit10@att.net or (772) 480 2116 or Allan Dobson at allandobson@yahoo.com or (772) 473 4385.

 

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