One of the fastest growing sports in the country because its high-speed contact situations challenge all aspects of athletic ability, rugby has gained a strong foothold in Kansas City.
Beginning with the Jr. Blues program, founded in 1992, high school rugby in the area has grown into a regional and national power.
Attractive to countless athletes and a growing number of schools throughout the years, rugby forces players to utilize a number of skills to pass, run, kick, tackle and score. As a result, players are required to think on their feet and demonstrate decision-making skills under pressure… something players in Kansas City have done exceptionally well in the two decades the sport has gained momentum in the Metro.
A team sport like no other that develops camaraderie among teammates and respect for the opposition at parent sponsored post game socials, rugby is a participation sport that has kept enthusiasts involved for years. In Kansas City, those same enthusiasts are credited with the founding and management of a number of high school programs in the area. In the past 19 years, the Jr. Blues have been joined in competition by boys teams from Central High School, Lawrence, Olathe, Park Hill High School, Schlagel High School, Shawnee Mission East High School, and most recently St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Liberty High School, the Blue Valley district, and DeSoto/Mill Valley. Additionally, the Kansas City Dragons have been competitive on a national level in the girls high school game for a number of years.
While these high school clubs have been supported by rugby players and parents from all affiliated clubs in the Metro, the Kansas City Blues have both contributed to and benefited most from the ongoing development of high school rugby in the area. The Blues currently operate as the umbrella organization for 4 different boys high school clubs in Kansas City: The Jr. Blues, Blue Valley RFC, Olathe Gentlemen, and St. Thomas Aquinas.
The 2011 Blues men’s team features 24 players who got their start in rugby with one of the area’s high school teams. With 15 former Jr. Blues, 3 former Olathe Gentlemen, 3 former Park Hill players, and 3 former SM East Lancers, the Blues have certainly reaped the benefits of the established high school competition in Kansas City.