Addicted to Rugby: senior players volunteer to coach

Normally, the field at Rimbey Junior/Senior High School would be full of experienced players. But on this particular sunny afternoon in Rimbey, Grade’s 1 through 6 have taken over the field.

Alissa Butcher is learning to throw and catch a rugby in the after school rugby program on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The program is in place to teach kids Grade 1 through six how to play rugby safely. Rugby is known as a rough sport and the senior coaches are trying to change that.

By Bromley Chamberlain

Ruck, scrum, lineout, pack, maul — these are all terms heard on a rugby field.

Normally, the field at Rimbey Junior/Senior High School would be full of experienced players. But on this particular sunny afternoon in Rimbey, Grade’s 1 through 6 have taken over the field.

Ceara Newman is the organizer for the practices. It is a spin off program from the Red Deer Titians and is being run through the Jr/Sr School.

“The concern was it would have been fairly expensive because of insurance with Rugby Canada and parents would have had to drive their kids to Red Deer once a week,” Newman said.

Having the program after school — at the school — made the most sense.

“We decided it would be better if we just ran it locally to see how it went,” Newman said. “That way we could run it through the school and keep the cost down.”

With no profits being made, the girls who teach the younger students are all volunteering their time.

“There’s no profit that comes from this. It’s just to get kids involved with rugby, and playing and enjoying the sport,” Newman said. “Partly a feeder program into our senior program. These girls were just interested in promoting a sport they really love. It’s a lot of fun. It’s only four weeks, it just teaches them basic skills.”

Rugby is known as being one of the roughest sports and it is not uncommon for broken bones to occur during a game.

What is different about this rugby program is it promotes safety. Newman really wants to emphasize that they are teaching safe rugby skill early on, hoping they will continue to practice them, as they grow older.

When Newman started the program she was expecting only a few kids.

“We were expecting 20 kids, we had 50,” Newman said.

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