Dark skies, a biting wind and 87 rugby players

How do you manage 87 rugby players? You do your absolute best and prepare for the backlash from dissatisfied parents. There is just no way around it.

It was our very first rugby match today at Marv Jenson field in South Jordan. My buddy Isoa and I coach 9th and 10th Graders for the United Rugby Club based out of Utah County and getting them ANY playing time is an administrative nightmare. There are enough players to field three teams but we’re going to have to make do with just two teams for the season. The growth of the sport here in Utah, has left our club with a very good problem: a lot of talent to choose from. The bigger problem however has nothing to do with the athletes, but more to do with the lack of volunteer coaches to teach young men the sport.

Complicating the sports’ growing pains is the lack of qualified, certified referees and officials as well as the fact that clubs that cannot field enough players, are playing older athletes against younger, inexperienced teams that can, which raises the possibility for injuries and sullies a sport for many players and parents whose players are being pummeled by larger, older athletes.

We ended up losing by a try to a very feisty, newly established club (with great athletes) from Herriman but our players did very well in their first test of the season. We have a lot of work to do as coaches to prepare our players for the next game, but I really believe that we’re headed in the right direction. Our new players should get a better run in the upcoming match and we’re confident that they will be better prepared.

I’m very happy to see so many new clubs and the number of new registered rugby players. It is exciting to finally see all of these young men playing the sport I love!

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