Rookie Rugby catching on in Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- When you think of the sport of rugby, naturally coming to mind are big, strong guys and physical play, but what you might not know is there's a group of youngsters here in town who are learning a whole new approach to this aggressive sport.

Youth sports are all about having fun while trying to keep things safe.
That's something which might sound kind of strange when you're talking about the sport of Rugby. Coach Matthew Noss who helps lead the Knoxville Youth Rugby League at the Tennessee Rugby park off Oak Ridge Highway says,"It's hard for the kids to pick it up. It's not something in their DNA. There is a learning curve when they catch that ball and score their first try their eyes light up in American football only a few players get to score, in rugby everyone has a chance."

Coach Noss helps teach the fundamentals of a sport, which at it's purest form is quite violent. Enter the use of flags. Yes, just as in flag football, in lieu of tackling, these little mighty might's pull
their opponents flags to stop them and they have a lot of fun doing it says Jackson Reagan, "I like the feel, i like the way we get to run that we do teamwork and get to be on teams."

Teammate Rylee Pehrson adds whats fun to her is, "that we get to run and that you meet new people."

So they're learning about safety, but the camaraderie is also pretty neat to see, even at this age. Soaking in what it means to be good sports!
About Rugby coach Noss says, "it is a very disciplined sport. When we play at the higher levels there is full contact. It can get high tempo so you can lay a big tackle on someone but you pick him up and shake his hand at the end of the day you're all buddies in the end and that's what we're really trying to bring to these kids we want to teach them discipline, sportsmanship, and all the lessons that come with the sport."

The opportunity for growth on and off the field is what it's all about for a group of kids playing what happens to be one of the fastest growing sports in America.

This is the 4th year for the Rookie Rugby League. The cost is $50 - with that you receive a rugby ball, t-shirt and sack pack.
There are three age groups: K-1, 1-3 & 4-8. Practice starts Wednesday, April 17. Practices are Wednesdays 6:30 - 8 PM. Games are Saturdays 8-11 AM. All the fun takes place at the Tennessee Rugby Park in Karns.

For more information and to register your kids, please visit,