Local rugby club tackles a new season

Girls and boys, young and old make up Sierra Foothills association
By: Kayla Nix/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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SACRAMENTO – The last weekend of January marked the opening weekend for many of the area’s rugby clubs.

Sierra Foothills Rugby is a local club that had more than 100 kids playing in the Kick Off Tournament last weekend at Granite Regional Park.

The junior varsity team finished first in its division, and the varsity was second Saturday. On Sunday, the under-14 and U-12 teams battled in the cold.

“Tackling the guys and proving that girls are better than them” is what Cambria Lyon said she’s looking forward to most about her first rugby season.

She’s the only girl on her U-12 team and the only one in the association, excluding the girls varsity team.

Sierra Foothills Rugby also has a men’s squad among its six teams in its association. There are 120 kids in the program ranging in age from 10-18.

“We always make sure we have room for kids. We never turn any kids away,” said Paul Kessler, vice president of Sierra Foothills Rugby. “We’ve had two or three special-ed kids come out that are still playing today. They’ve been with us for three or four years.”

Sierra Foothills Rugby started eight years ago as a high school team at Del Oro.

“Three years ago, we decided to go from a high school team to a club team,” Kessler said. “A club team can draw from many high schools to get your numbers up. When we did that was when we really went from two teams to six teams. We’ve been focusing all of our recruiting really at the junior high level, elementary level.”

Travel is part of Sierra Foothills’ program. This year, the club will head to Los Angeles, and big plans lay ahead for a trip next year to Ireland. Last year’s trip was to Argentina.

“We try to put on these significant tours so they can actually understand rugby is an international sport,” Kessler said.

Games are played at Penryn LDS Park, varsity games on Friday nights and JV and youth games on Saturdays.
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