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The Marshfield Times

The Student News Site of Marshfield High School

The Marshfield Times

The Student News Site of Marshfield High School

The Marshfield Times

Rugby Returns to Bay Area


Members of the Bay Area Ruggers rugby team competed at Sunset School football field recently. Fierce competition and smashing hits are the norm for the game of rugby. Photo by Rosy Cervantes
The Bay Area Ruggers have brought rugby back to Coos Bay.

A club rugby team known as the Low Life Sliders played in Coos Bay in the mid 1970s, but dissolved because no one carried it on. The Ruggers were founded in 2011, but at times lacked a sufficient number of players. This year the Ruggers are focusing on “seven,” a type of rugby involving seven players per team, opposed to the regular 15.

Lee Palmer, president and head coach of the Bay Area Ruggers Club, said playing with less players on the field has helped the team to persist.

“It’s easier to have fewer number of players,” Palmers said. “It makes practicing easier.”

Many on the team are new to the sport, but even experienced players said they improve every time they step on the field.

“It’s a lifetime sport,” Palmer said. “Every time you play you learn something new.”

Junior Kevin Oduor played rugby in Kenya before moving to the United States this year and said his experience has helped the team to grow.

“I’ve been able to help the team learn the rules, and now we are getting stronger,” Oduor said.

Though low in popularity in the United States, Palmer said it should not deter people from playing.

“I played college football and I enjoy rugby a lot more,” Palmer said.

Rugby may be centered on a ball a little larger than a football; however, rugby is different in many ways. The ball must be passed backward, and even though tackling occurs, no protective pads are worn. Palmer said rugby is unique and requires more physical fitness than other sports.

“It is like soccer and wrestling. It is very physical and doesn’t have breaks like football,” Palmer said.

Sophomore James Miranda played rugby for a separate team his eighth grade year and said he appreciated the opportunity to learn a new sport.

“I love the intensity,” Miranda said. “Unlike football, it’s nonstop, and it’s a lot of fun.”

The Ruggers are competing in a mens only league and players under the age of 18 must have a waiver signed by their parents allowing them to play. However, anyone is welcome to attend practice. Their season started with a tournament against other club teams on April 19, and will end in August.

Each tournament has its own winners, and the players select the number of tournaments they wish to enter.

Oduor said he has already seen improvement and hopes to take home a trophy.

“My goal is to be the best team,” Oduor said. “I want to be a champion in at least one of those tournaments.”

Palmer said this year the team has had a positive spirit and encourages high school athletes to try playing rugby.

“Rugby is another sport that is challenging and that you could do in the offseason of other sports,” Palmer said.

Oduor said he is hopeful for the future of rugby in Coos Bay and said that more young people need to play to ensure its survival.

“I would like to encourage more young ones to play, so when the old people quit playing, the sport can keep going in Coos Bay,” Oduor said.

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  • J

    Jose SandovalJul 3, 2016 at 3:43 am

    Hello I’m Very interested in this great sport and would like to know if it is still around in coos bay, I may be moving to the area and wanna know if I’ll be able to give it a try

  • S

    Steve JohnstonAug 11, 2015 at 1:14 am

    The original coos bay rugby club’s name back in the day ( mid 70’s ) was:the Bay Area Low Lifer Side or the B.A.L.L.S.

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Rugby Returns to Bay Area