Brandon Cheng, left, Sheena Lunge and Kim Cheng take part in a drill at a Sooke Rugby practice at EMCS field. The team meets every Sunday at 10 a.m. The club is open to any level of rugby player. (Contributed)

Is rugby too rough for me?

Sooke group introduces sport in gentle way

Jeff Walker | Contributed

Ask almost anyone to describe the sport of rugby and it’s likely you’ll hear all sorts of horror stories about giant men covered in blood and mud, smashing into each other with the force of a thousand angry bulls. With the Rugby World Cup recently concluding in Japan, people likely watched slow motion highlights of faces and bodies being smooshed into strange and wonderful shapes that reminded them of Picasso paintings.

It is no wonder that when the average person sees an advertisement for Sooke Rugby, they might feel a little intimidated and put off by the idea of attending practices.

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When Kim Cheng first told her friends that she was going to try out a rugby practice she was met with raised eyebrows and skepticism. “You’re going to get hurt and you’re going to cry!” It was enough to make her quite nervous before her first practice.

“I was really nervous the day before practice. I didn’t know what to expect and my friends were all telling me I was crazy.”

However, she quickly realized that her anxiety was misplaced. “It was really fun. It was a good combination of fitness, skills, and games. There was nothing dangerous to be concerned about.” Now both Kim and her husband Brandon are regulars who attend every practice.

Others who have come out to practice have had similar experiences and have now committed fully to the team after realizing that there is a large probability they will walk away with all their bones intact.

At a recent team meeting, it was discussed that perhaps part of the reason people are so hesitant to come out to practice is that they’ve been given the wrong impression about what Sooke Rugby is and isn’t.

Our 90-minute training does indeed teach all the skills and rules of Touch, Sevens and full 15-a-side rugby which includes passing, kicking, mauls, rucks, scrums, and yes … even tackling.

Where it differs from the average competitive rugby club is that these more risky skills are taught at a very slow and controlled pace. Some of our members are new to the sport, and we are taking our time to develop knowledge and skills from the ground up.

Okay, that is all well and good, but you might be saying, “It is still a physical sport, I am bound to get some knocks and bruises!”

True. Rugby is by nature a physical sport and there are risks involved. However, our certified athletic therapist and player Sheena Lunge and her magic hands are available just in case.

If you’ve been thinking about how you would like to try the sport, or get back into it after many years but are discouraged by its rough reputation, come check out a Sunday session. Even if you just lurk in your vehicle pretending to read this newspaper like a spy in the 1960s, you will see that the only thing rough about Sooke Rugby is that you’re missing out.

Go online to sookerugby.ca for more information.

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Jeff Walker is the organizer of Sooke Rugby.


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