The Power to Play: Rugby offers an outlook for students


Natalie Martinez

Jogging a lap around the Blue River Athletic field in Kansas City, Missouri, the Junior Blues Rugby team warms up before starting a passing drill. The club team practices every Tuesday and Thursday. Senior Edward Murray and sophomore Neil Carman are members of this club team that practices every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Alena Gillespie, Web Editor-in-Chief

The sun shines on the Blue River Athletic Fields as the Junior Blues rugby team stretches, executes passing drills and pushes each other as a team.
According to senior Edward Murray, who plays for the Junior Blues, rugby combines soccer, basketball and football.
“The way you have to fight for possession off the tipoff is the basketball part,” Murray said. “The clock never stops, so there’s a soccer aspect, and it is the physicality of football.”
Coming from Australia and growing up playing the sport, freshman Meg Joseph’s dad enrolled her into rugby when she was 10.
“He found out there was going to be rugby here in the States, so he decided to get me and my siblings involved,” Joseph said.
Joseph, a member of the Park Hill Dragons, plays on both a girls and boys team. As an underclassman, she stands out because the boys team is primarily juniors and seniors, whereas the girls team is sophomores and juniors.
“It takes a lot of courage to play because it’s a very aggressive sport,” Joseph said.
After watching his cousin play, Murray started playing the sport during his eighth-grade year and has been playing ever since.
“I just went on with the same sport,” Murray said. “It doesn’t matter how big or strong you are. There is a position for everyone.”
When in season, Joseph typically travels about two hours to play her games, but last summer, Joseph had the opportunity to play in Ireland. Following high school, Joseph wants to go to college for rugby.
“It’s actually a really fun sport and, it challenges you,” Joseph said.
Southern Nazarene University commit senior Allison Quinn began playing rugby as a freshman after she felt inspired by her older brother Alex, but the team fell apart due to COVID-19. However, at the beginning of Quinn’s senior year, she attended a rugby identification camp in Iowa, where her playing career took off.
“My brother has been my big mentor,” Quinn said. “He played it in college on a scholarship and won nationals.”
According to Quinn, who is currently playing rugby as well as high school lacrosse, communication to coaches and planning out each week is essential to managing both practices.
“I try my best to prioritize my body health with sleep and fueling food, while at the same time making sure I stay on top of classes,” Quinn said.
A member of the combo club team of Liberty North and Park Hill, Quinn and her team compete in tournaments every few weeks because, according to Quinn, rugby isn’t highly populated in the area.
“I just really enjoyed rugby because of the team atmosphere,” Quinn said. “I saw a sport and atmosphere that I wanted to be a part of.”
Murray’s favorite aspect of rugby is the brotherhood.
“You’re all tired,” Murray said. “You’re all in pain. You’re all together.”
According to both Joseph and Quinn, during the girls fall season, the games make up 15 versus 15, but in the spring season, it is 7 versus 7. Quinn favors the immediate connection and bond between the team.
“You’re pretty much tackling each other, and that’s a lot of trust,” Quinn said. “It just takes a lot of confidence to do.”