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Springfield Rugby Club Opens New Season

Club helped bring sport into local P.E. curriculum

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Springfield Rugby Football Club and Queen City Chaos hosted a season-opening tournament Saturday, taking on clubs from three states.

The 10-on-10 tournament is the first of seven home events this fall for the men's club. The Chaos, in its second season, will finish its schedule with six matches, beginning Sept. 16 at home against the Kansas Bison.

Rugby is the fastest-growing sport in America, and Springfield Rugby has committed to developing talent in Southwest Missouri. More than 120 players compete with SRFC, including new youth teams for boys and girls. However, perhaps the club's most successful outreach involves physical education classes.

Susan McLeod of the Queen City Chaos played a significant role in introducing the sport to Springfield Public Schools. Just before the new school year, she led a seminar demonstrating the rules of the modified "touch rugby."

"P.E. teachers were looking for more skills games for large groups," McLeod said. "Rugby is for all shapes and sizes, all athletic abilities. That opportunity is tremendous, and we want to get those kids involved and show kids it's okay to be physical."

Saturday's "Summer 10's Tournament" featured a modified game, as well. Rather than 15-person teams battling through two 40-minute halves, teams played "10's" for two 10-minute halves.

The rise of rugby led to its inclusion in the 2016 Summer Olympics, where the fast-paced rugby sevens debuted in Brazil.

"We're coming off a lot of publicity from Rio and the Olympics," SRFC's Daniel Jester said. "It's growing exponentially, and it's absolutely wonderful."

Jester and the men's club will return to their home field for a fundraising match Thursday, Sept. 7.


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