Updated: Jun 4, 2022
2022 has been a year of many firsts for Rugby in Arizona. For the 1st time ever, five teams represented the state in national play-offs. Three of those teams advanced to represent Arizona Rugby in the U.S.A. Rugby final four weekend in their respective divisions. This marked the 1st time Arizona was represented in the final tournament by 3 different teams, in 3 different divisions. 2022 was also the year GCU women's rugby team made their 1st appearance in the national 7s tournament Collegiate Rugby Tournament where they advanced all the way to semifinals and had one of their 1st players Amaya De La Cruz be named in the all tournament team. Competitively, it was a fruitful year for our growing community. We will go deeper and further in each one of the teams that represented us at highest level in future articles but today we will talk about another 1st. A first that will kick start a new tradition and a new social rugby community event that will make a big impact on our sport at the local level : High-school touch Rugby.
On Tuesday 05/24/22 ASU Rugby club partnered up with Play Rugby AZ to inaugurate the high-school touch rugby community event. A FREE TO ATTEND EVENT, a place where athlete of all shapes and skill level, of high-school age can come out and learn rugby, work on their fitness, hang out with rugby enthusiasts in a judgement free environment.
The 1st high-school touch event was a huge success. ASU rugby club went above and beyond to make sure everybody had a great time. They provided the field markers, good quality rugby balls , an excellent playing field, provided music and even had a water station for the the young athletes to hydrate .
All together about 40 athletes came out to enjoy the event. The atmosphere was excellent . In the mix we had high-school players from all competitive clubs around the state, ASU players who came out to play and meet the young ruggers, and a few parents who ended up joining in the fun, learning and playing the game. In typical rugby fashion everybody acted like they knew each other their whole lives, even though some of them just met for the first time at the event. it was a LOUD , FAST, FUNNY, ENTERTAINING , ENJOYABLE and MEMORABLE event enjoyed by everybody present,
The event was planned and execute by ASU Rugby team captain Nick Davies with the help of his clubs board of officers and the Arizona State University . Impressive in stature Nick towers at 6 feet 6 inches and weighs a solid 280 lbs . A punisher and aggressor on the rugby field, Nick is actually a very friendly and modest young man. He is easy to talk to, loves the rugby community and is always smiling . We took advantage of the situation and decided to interview the rising ASU and Arizona rugby star so we hopped on a picnic table so we can be at eye level with the giant and asked the ASU capitain a few questions :
Play Rugby AZ : What gave you the idea to put together this youth/ highschool touch event ?
Nick Davies : The Arizona State Rugby Club and I believe it is important to be a part of growing and helping to improve the next generation of rugby players. The idea for hosting a touch event for high schoolers came from realizing that many young athletes had an interest but no real exposure to the sport. We knew we could create a fun space to allow them to develop their skills and learn about the rugby culture and community here in Arizona.
Play Rugby AZ : When does ASU rugby club start their new season ? How can an athlete play rugby for ASU after high-school ?
Nick Davies:ASU Rugby will have its first practice and team meeting on Aug 15th. We would love to have all who are interested to come out and meet the team and start practicing with us. There will be more details as we get closer to the beginning of the semester. Follow and keep up to date by following our Instagram! @asurugby
Play Rugby AZ: Will you host more events like this one ?
Nick Davies :We plan to host more rugby events throughout the summer roughly once a month. We look forward to having well structured, fun, touch rugby with high-school rugby players and other athletes that are interested.We see a bright future in the Arizona Rugby community and would love for you to join us out on the field.
Play Rugby AZ: How long have you been playing rugby ?
Nick Davies : I've been playing rugby since I could walk and my dad gave me a ball. I grew up playing in England, at Huddersfield Rugby Club. When my family moved to Buffalo, NY my love for the sport continued. When I served in the US Marines I had the opportunity to play touch with players from Australia, Fiji, and England.
Play Rugby AZ : What is it like to be a college Rugby Player at Arizona State University ?
Nick Davies :Playing in college is a great opportunity to find a community and band of brothers. You have people that will support you in your efforts to grow as a person and player. We have a great team of athletes that are striving to be champions. We take pride in what we do
Play Rugby AZ : How much doe a 6 foot 6 inches athlete have to eat every day ?
Nick Davies : Haha We have some big boys in our forward pack and we all eat a lot of food to sustain our workouts and training sessions. We have been fortunate enough to have players share workout plans and diets with those interested and we are all here to help each other reach our team and personal goals.
As Mr Davies mentioned this event will take place again in the near future so if you missed the 1st one do not worry . there will be more for you to enjoy in the future .Below are a few pictures and videos so you know what to expect next time .
here is some bi raw footage from the the event