Saturday, June 22, 2013
There are many ways to grow a sport within a community. You can post flyers and promote through the internet. You can have a player succeed at a high level like the Augusta Rugby Club's Stephen Hickey, and maybe most importantly, you can hold an event that showcases your game.
That's what the Augusta club did Saturday with their fourth annual Back Nine Sevens rugby tournament.
With 23 sides fighting for trophies in the mens and womens divisions, it's a chance to get the community to see the game at a high level and maybe convince more people to consider coming out.
Maddogs President Brian Kaufman said, "When I became the president four years ago, the first thing I said was, 'Hey guys. We have to do our own Sevens Tournament. It's a great fundraiser, fun for everybody. Also, it's big exposure for the city. As you can see, the tournament has grown from eight teams to 23 teams. The sport has got a lot more popular, even in the city of Augusta."
The guys aren't the only ones growing.
The Augusta Furies have made leaps and bounds in their third year. Last year, they struggled to fill the bench, making it tough to compete.
Now, the ladies side is growing bigger and stronger, and they only see it going up from here.
"Rugby's not well known here yet, especially on the women's side, but anyone who's come to a practice is very surprised at how supportive we are," said women's President Owen Crosland. "It's a great environment for new players to come out, even if they've never played a sport before."