With one success story already in the books, local rugby boosters are now primed to expand their sport throughout the Plateau.
Actually, it’s a bit of a re-return for Andy Ramsay, the driving force behind everything rugby in the region.
It was 2008 when Ramsay began introducing the local sporting audience to rugby. The effort that began on the Plateau shifted a few miles and has since successfully grown in the Auburn area. Ramsay points out the program now has 190 players stretched between the first and 12th grades.
”Based on that success and the fact we still use the old White River Middle School field as our home pitch we have decided to create an affiliate youth club in the Plateau area,” Ramsay said in a recent email.
The goal, he explained, is to establish a pair of teams – Under 10 and Under 12 – during the coming year. Both teams will have coed rosters, the only difference being that the U-10 squad will play a non-contact variation of the sport.
“With the huge growth in all of the local cities we are confident that we will be able to successfully get this up and running,” Ramsay wrote. “Long term, we would expand the range of teams each season with the goal of having a high school boys’ and girls’ (team) just like we do in Auburn.”
To distinguish between the new venture on the Plateau from the established program in Auburn, the new effort will carry the name Rainier Junior Rugby South. The Auburn program will be known as Rainier Junior Rugby Central.
Ramsay and his fellow rugby boosters are in the promotional phase these days, visible at junior football games and local fall festivals.
Their immediate goal is to identify some volunteer coaches and others who would be interested in getting the new club off the ground. An advantage this time around, Ramsay said, is “unlike when we started in 2008, we have all the resources in terms of equipment, finances and general know how on how to do this.”
The rugby season will not start until early February, but it’s critical that volunteers get on board now, Ramsay said.
To attract potential players, the rugby organization will host a couple of free “introduction to rugby” camps. Those could come in December, but most likely will be in January or February. The events will be for all ages, will be of the “no contact” variety and no pre-registration will be required.
Inquiries can be directed to Ramsay at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about the local rugby effort can be found at www.rainierjuniorrugby.com. Visit “Rainier Junior Rugby” on Facebook or “rainier.rugby” on Instagram.