Learning the Ropes to Rugby

Swimming, track and field, gymnastics: those are all sports we know are common with the Summer Olympics, but after decades away, Rugby has returned to the games.
News 25’s Bryan Kennedy got suited and booted to hit the pitch with a local club to teach you what you need to know when you tune in.
Don’t let Ray Campion’s grey hair lead you to think he’s taking it easy these days. So why, after almost 40 years, does the 55-year-old continue to play and coach rugby? “I love the camaraderie. You go out there and you beat each other up for 80 minutes and then you go and socialize with the other team and make some of the best friends of your life.”
If you catch rugby during the Olympics, it’s like American football, but possibly hard to follow. With a little help from the Mississippi Gulf Coast Land Sharks, here’s what you need to know: Rugby usually is played with 15 players on the field for a team, the Olympics features a faster paced game with seven on each side. For the most part, the game doesn’t stop. If you go out of bounds, that’s a turnover and a line out brings the ball back into play. If tackled, you can keep going, but when securely down, a teammate has to come and put the ball back into play. When you score, that’s called a “try” and worth five points. President of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Rugby Club Justin Godsey said, “Don’t be intimated by the pace of the game. Think of it as a puzzle. You drop a puzzle and there’s pieces everywhere. Once you slowly start to put them together, you start to see a picture and it comes together.”
Campion tells News 25 he thinks the game is catching on because unlike some sports, anyone can lead. “Everyone has the opportunity to run, pass, kick, whatever, tackle. I think that’s one of the appeals for younger kids. It’s not just a few kids that run with the ball, a few kids who tackle, a few kids who block and things like that.”
The U.S. Men’s rugby team played twice today and will be back in action Wednesday against Fiji.
For more information on Mississippi Gulf Coast Rugby visit their Facebook page.

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