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Heartland Youth Rugby

  Heartland youth Rugby
Youth rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States. Both non-contact and contact versions of the game are popping up in summer leagues, physical education classes, after school programs, YMCA’s, Boys and Girls’ Clubs and backyards all over the country.

Heartland Youth Rugby was established in January 2011 to promote the growth and development of youth, through the sport of rugby. Our goal is to help them develop the positive life lessons of physical fitness, teamwork and leadership, while learning the game of rugby. In addition, we want to increase the number of youth rugby players in the Kansas City area.

So far, we have been able to teach more than 3,000 kids the sport of rugby in their school PE classes in the Kansas City area. Students ranging from 2nd through 9th grade have learned the basics of passing, running and catching the rugby ball through various skill drills, and fun lead-up games. The PE teachers have really enjoyed the activity because it teaches the kids something new and exciting, as well as keeping them very active the entire class. We will continue to do these classes, since it has been a great way to expose the kids to the sport.

In addition, in March 2012 we launched the Heartland Youth Rugby League, with nearly 75 kids from 2nd – 8th grade participating in a 2-month long season of non-contact, flag rugby. Through the League, the basic skills of rugby are taught, reinforced, and translated into playing an actual season of rugby games. Seperated by grade (2nd & 3rd together, 4th & 5th together, and middle school), the co-ed League has generated an incredible response from the children and their parents, and will resume again in April 2013. Our objective is to increase the numbers of kids playing the sport, and also continue to develop those that have already been playing.

Over the next few years, our plan is to develop more youth rugby players through these various camps, clinics, and Leagues, and continue to promote the inclusion of Rugby into the P.E. curriculums of elementary and middle-school programs. All of this will lead to the formation of additional both non-contact and contact leagues, which will provide a competition structure for youth rugby in the Kansas City area.

For more information and to get updates from Heartland Youth Rugby, please visit the Heartland Youth Rugby website or contact:

Eric Masterson
Heartland Youth Rugby Coach
Email Eric
Tim Kluempers
Heartland Youth Rugby Coach
Email Tim

Youth Rugby FAQ

What is Youth Rugby?
This is non-contact, flag rugby that can be played by boys and girls, ages 17 and under. It is a game that introduces the kids to the sport of rugby, where everyone gets to pass, catch, run and score with the ball. Youth rugby is played with flags to simulate and replace the tackle. Kids will learn about all the unique parts of rugby, like the ‘scrum’ and the ‘line-out’, in a fun, safe and non-contact environment.

How do you play Youth Rugby, and how is it similar to other sports?
Teammates will run with the ball in their hands, passing the ball among them, looking to run between or around the opposition to score in the end zone. Several skills like running, passing, spacing and decision-making, are the same skills that are used in soccer, football, and basketball.

Is Youth Rugby played under the same rules and laws as real rugby?
No. Youth rugby laws are amended to provide a fun and safe opportunity for kids to learn the sport.

I’ve seen Rugby on the television. How is Youth Rugby different?
The style of rugby seen on TV recently, is the style that youth rugby is based on. The only difference being the contact. In youth rugby, play does not stop if a flag is pulled. The ball changes sides when the offense makes a mistake. Kids will learn how to attack space through drills that involve passing and running with the ball, to go between or around the defense, or kick past them.

Are there special skills necessary to start playing Youth Rugby?
No special skills are necessary to begin. If kids can pass, and catch a ball while running, they’ll be a star. Remember, tackling will be replaced with flags. Kids will concentrate on the skills of passing, running, kicking and positional play.

Will Youth Rugby help my kid in other sports?
Rugby is excellent preparation for any team sport. The game will get kids in excellent shape. They’ll improve their ability to read defenses. Their passing and footwork will be vastly improved for their other sports.

In some sports my kids play now, they hardly touch the ball. Will that happen in Youth Rugby?
No! Teamwork is very important and because there are no downs in rugby, the ball keeps moving around the field. Everyone touches the ball! Everyone runs with the ball! Everyone passes the ball! Everyone scores!!!

Kansas City Blues Rugby Club