Attention all rugby players! Although it isn’t at the forefront of the American sports scene, all hope is not lost for athletes passionate about this precursor to Gridiron.
The local Mid-South Rugby Union team, the Headhunters, is searching for players to fill out their fall team line-up.
“We currently have about 15 and need as many as possible,” said Chris Peterson, coach. “We need all body types from 6’5 and 300 pounds to 5’6 and 160 pounds. No experience is necessary as long as you are competitive and over 18.”
The team is comprised of both Soldiers and civilians from the local communities, but Peterson said about half the team has left due to the current deployment.
“The club used to be primarily on Fort Campbell but with the gate security the vote was taken to just hold all practices and games off post,” Peterson said. “We still attempt to field a full military side to compete in the military nationals tournament usually in April.”
The team plays rugby union, the precursor to football, so new players will find many of the rules the same. In both sports players attempt to score touchdowns, as well as field goals and extra points after a touchdown.
The difference is in the names – a touchdown is a try, the extra point is a conversion and a field goal is a dropped goal – and in the scoring. A try is only successful if the ball is touched to the ground behind the goal line and is worth five points. A conversion is worth two points, but a penalty conversion and a dropped goal are each worth three points.
The one thing that may catch new players off-guard is how the ball is moved forward. Players may run or kick the ball forward, or they may pass it to another player laterally. Throwing the ball up the field is considered a foul.
“It’s called a hooligans sport played by gentleman,” Peterson said. “No blockers and no pads allowed.”
The Headhunters are based out of Hopkinsville because of sponsorship, but Peterson said they were looking to secure a pitch in Clarksville so the team could split its time between the two cities.
All home matches are played at the Boys and Girls Club in Hopkinsville, but they travel across both Kentucky and Tennessee, sometimes even going as far as Illinois and Alabama for matches.
The rugby season is about 12 weeks long with 10 matches on Saturdays, and tournaments on Sundays. The Headhunters practice every Tuesday and Thursday at Christian County High School from 7-9 p.m.
The new season is expected to start the second or third week of August.
Peterson said there are no tryouts, and anyone willing to come out and learn the game would get to play. He added that if the club managed to get up to 35 players, he’d be willing to field two teams.
Any men interested in joining the team should contact the Headhunters rugby football club at email@example.com or Chris Peterson at (615) 556-8298.
What: Headhunters Mid-South Rugby Union Team
When: 12-week season, starting in August
Contact: Chris Peterson at (615) 556-8298.