On Sunday, PRO Rugby came to town in its inaugural season and gave us a matchup between Sacramento and San Francisco. Walking into Bonney Field (home to local soccer team Sacramento Republic, FC) at Cal Expo, I could feel the excitement, and was amazed by the large number of families and young fans! For new rugby fans, here’s a little overview of the game:
If you see the above formation, it is called a scrum, and it takes place when there is a penalty of some sort on the pitch. Eight members of each team bind together and meet to contest for the ball and move it to the rear of the pack, where it is delivered through a series of lateral passes to players who are trying for the goal.
When a player enters the try-zone, he touches the ball down for 5 points. An extra point kick adds 2 more points if the player can manage it.
At Halftime there was an exhibition game between two local Girl’s Middle School teams, the Land Park Harlequins and the Gold Country Mother Lode. After their game was over, it was awesome to see little groups of them tooling around the grandstand in the second half.
This is something you will always see at the end of a rugby game. The two teams meet on the field in a show of sportsmanship unique to the sport: a lineup where earnest congratulations are exchanged. Athletes honor their common bond and agree to leave any aggression or ill will behind them on the field (in collegiate rugby the host team will not only house the visiting team, but also show them a good time the evening after the game!)
Intrigued? The next home game is scheduled for Sunday, May 8 at 5pm, when Sacramento takes on Ohio. You can purchase your tickets here.
By John Foster