New Zealand, South Africa, England, France, Fiji...and now Oregon...the action, excitement and drama of Rugby Union has taken root in the Pioneer State. Oregon High Schools have recently adopted Canada's National Game, lacrosse, and now the youth of Oregon will soon be chanting the Haka and trading national team jerseys from around the world as Rugby becomes the next international import. What's the Haka you ask? Check out the New Zealand All Blacks web site to learn its history and begin to get an understanding how Rugby is more than a sport...it's a culture.
Last weekend I ventured out to Lents Park where the Oregon Youth Rugby League were playing the final weekend of the regular season of U19 matches before the upcoming playoffs. It was dark and a little rainy...your typical Oregon Spring Saturday. I shot 3 matches...the Tualatin Valley club overpowered the Hillsboro Rugby Club 35-0; the Eastside Rugby Club and the Wilson High School Rugby Club pooled players to play out a "friendly" match (is there such a thing in rugby?) that ended 21-0; and the Ashland Rugby Club made the long trip up I-5 worth the trouble by defeating North Clackamas 12-7.
Rugby is a great game...lots of continuous action, it is extremely physical and it's history demands that a rugby player develop strong character...it's not a hooligan's sport...it's tough and mentally and physically one of the most challenging sports. Learn more about Oregon Rugby of all levels at the Pacific Northwest Rugby Football website, or check the schedule and come out and watch a match...I guarantee you'll enjoy the action.
Match photos of the Oregon Youth Rugby U19s