Over 30 boys and girls, ages 7 to 12, competed on November 7th in the first ever Battleship Youth Rugby Tournament at the U.S.S. Alabama Memorial Park. This year, the tournament was held alongside the 37th Annual Battleship Invitational Tournament as an intramural, round-robin format. The goal is for future events to attract teams from Atlanta, Birmingham, New Orleans and beyond, considering rugby is the fastest growing sport in the world, especially in the U.S. were rugby remains an emerging sport. All of the participants played amazing rugby, scoring a host of tries and having fun along the way.
Youth rugby is styled after Olympic rugby, with up to 7 players per side competing for possession and points over two 7-minutes halves per game. One major difference in youth and Olympic is the use of flags to simulate a tackle for the more junior competitors. The risks of physical contact, tackling especially, are at the forefront of USA Rugby’s movement to promote Rookie Rugby, a safe alternative for the underdeveloped musculoskeletal systems found in many competitors under the age of 13. Flag rugby teaches proper technique for running, catching and passing to avoid contact with opponents while building the skills and physique necessary to safely initiate and complete a tackle maneuver in later years.
Almost a quarter of the areas Physical Educators have experienced Rookie Rugby, also an education curriculum approved by the state of Alabama. If you are an educator or parent interested in learning more about Rookie Rugby, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The program is free and all materials are donated by Mobile Area Rugby Foundation, Inc.
This Blog is written by Robert Corley, Executive Director of Mobile Area Rugby Foundation.
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