City Park in New Orleans showcases a ‘Day of Rugby’

NEW ORLEANS —Pan American Stadium in City Park hosted a special “Day of Rugby” event Saturday to showcase the sport at various levels of play, from youth through college.

Among those taking the field were teams from Jesuit High School, Brother Martin High School and Lake Area New Tech Early College High School along with the Audubon Rugby Club, a team for players who attend high schools that don’t have rugby programs.

They faced teams traveling from Tennessee (White Station High School) and Illinois (Central Illinois High School) for the event.

The Day of Rugby included a match between Loyola University and Louisiana Tech and an exhibition from New Orleans’ new youth rugby league, in which students between the ages of 4 and 13 play a non-tackle version of the game.

Rugby will return to the Olympics in 2016 and has been hailed as the nation’s fastest-growing sport. New Orleans has emerged as the hub for rugby in the South, with nine high schools now fielding teams, a men’s team (the New Orleans Rugby Football Club), which won national championships in 2011 and 2012, and a women’s team (the Halfmoons Rugby Club).

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