The rugby program at Riverside has had its ups and downs. The program was suspended in 2010 because there wasn’t a coach and not enough interest from students. So, for a while, rugby at Riverside was dormant. It was not until Mr. Abraham Kang and Rob Colombo, teachers at Riverside Secondary, started it up again in 2015, that interest began again. From then on, it has been a journey to revive the rugby team.
For some, the game is confusing. The basic rules of rugby are that the ball may not be passed forward; it can be passed sideways (right and left) and backward; the ball can also be kicked as far as possible (not out of bounds). The ball must cross the white line on the opposite side of the team who has the ball. This line is called the try line (it is the same line to cross in American football to get a touch down). On a kickoff, the ball must travel 10m. Kang commented that Rugby is a mix between American football and soccer; it has a blend of soccer rules but with full-body contact.
Other terms that relate to rugby are Sevens and Fifteens. The difference between the two is not much. Sevens have seven players and seven-minute halves. Half-time is only two minutes instead of ten minutes as it is in fifteens. Fifteens has fifteen players and each half has a time of forty minutes; there are fifteen substitutes that will be switched out between players. Sevens has become popular because it is much faster and more free-flowing; fans of Rugby enjoy the speed of the game with Sevens.
Kang has been happy with the sport’s revival at the school. “It has been a very successful rebirth of the sport at the school,” said Kang. There is now a girl’s rugby team which is expected to win the championships this year, as well as the boy’s team. The team had won a Tier Two Fraser Valley Championships and last year had come second, as well as third place at the Regionals for Sevens. This year they will be competing at the AAA Tier One League.
Kang said he likes the game because of the respect among the players and because it is a fun game to play and watch. If students have wanted to try it but feel like it a very aggressive sport, rugby is not as rough as it may seem; come out and give it a try. Or the very least, get out there and support the teams!