Sports - High School

Apr 21, 2011 11:47 PM by Jordan Mason

Rugby makes a mark in Colorado Springs

The sport of rugby is up and coming in the United States. In fact, rugby is back in the Olympic Games, starting in 2016.

And could Colorado Springs be a new feeding town for that Olympic team?

The Colorado Springs High School Rugby Club is all about physical contact.
"You have to be an angry person to play this game," said C.S. Rugby Club member Jess Roberson. "You have to be tough and be willing to take punches."

The Rugby Club's high school team, known as the Grizzlies, is coached by outspoken New Zealand native John Paterson. He created the club six years ago when his son was on Pine Creek's high school football team.

"Then he turned up home with 30 of the football players and he was talking about rugby to them," said Paterson. "So they decided they would like to learn the game, and that's really how it started."

And six years later, they've won three Colorado state titles and this season, are ranked fourth in the nation.

You could say Paterson's motivating tactics are unusual.

"We were all kind of screwing around and he was like, you'll like a bunch of west coast bowlers knitting," said C.S. Rugby Club member Matthew Mechtly. "I'm like, what?"

But he has quickly turned Colorado Springs into one of America's top rugby towns.

The Colorado Springs High School Rugby Club is not an official CHSAA sport. It's a club sport, as the Grizzlies are made of from boys from several high schools in Colorado Springs.





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