Baton Rouge Area Youth Rugby Warriors Play-by-Play Recap to 2021
When the world shut down in 2020, immediately, the fields were bare with not a boot to be seen; only phantom chatter remained. It was clear- the world held its breath. Even though the world stopped, we never did. In the fall of 2021, Baton Rouge Area Youth Rugby finally decided to move forward under the Baton Rouge Area Youth Rugby Board, Louisiana Rugby Association, guidance of the CDC, State officials, USA Rugby with the support of the local clubs of Baton Rouge Men's Rugby and Lagniappe Women's Club and Major League Rugby NOLA Gold. Over 40 youth participated in a span of 6 weeks at the Highland Rugby Pitch. Little did the youth realize how these Gold (players) coaches: Andrew Guerra, Cian Barry, Brian Naulty, Devin Short, and Tim Maupan would make headlines at the Shrine. The newly established program for the surrounding Baton Rouge area (Livingston to Ascension Parish) focused on age appropriate skills and drills: Mommy and Me (ages 3-5), Rookie Rugby (elementary) with Middle and High School combined to learn more advanced drills and skills to ultimately incorporate into matches. An added bonus was when the youth had an opportunity to play at the Shrine during halftime when NOLA Gold played against Old Glory. Their eyes widened and little hearts thumped with excitement as they stepped onto the pitch, surrounded by stands and spectators. A seed was planted.
Beyond our youth rugby programming, Baton Rouge area Youth Rugby supported the third annual HBCU Rugby Classic as an ambassador to the visiting teams: R.O.O.T.S. (men and women’s), Dallas Youth, PVAM, MICR (men’s and women’s) and Lagniappe Women’s Rugby. Unfortunately, the two day event was shortened by severe storms, but no worries- March 27 and 28, 2022 will return bigger and better with more teams representing the HBCU and local surrounding marching bands that will give us a glimpse to the deep culture and traditions.
The summer was rugby-filled, as we were invited to lead the CADAV Pre-Juneteenth Children’s March, with the generous support of Memphis Inner City Rugby (MICR) and continual support of Baton Rouge Rugby Club and Lagniappe Women's Rugby, two of MICR's finest coaches came and helped present a three day summer rugby program to North Baton Rouge, Baker Middle School to over 60 students with skills and lots of outside play. MICR completed their visit with a leadership forum with Gardere Initiative to over 15 selected youth leaders.
The inaugural youth flag rugby under the leadership of Coach Robert began immediately after the annual Baton Rouge Rugby Club Redfish 7s Tournament in June. The U12, 8 roster team prepared weekly for their first match at USS Battleship Luau 7s against Birmingham Vulcans. The newfound friendship with Birmingham introduced the youth to the rugby culture- after the matches, we exchanged gifts and smiles before the downpour. The momentum continued to Covington in our first ever match at Coquille Parks and Recreation, under the coordination of Grant Stafford and supporting coaches. Area youth experienced their first friendly flag rugby matches. More to come for Louisiana Youth Rugby summer play! The 4th Annual Winter Youth Rugby Clinic and Vaccination Drive, we partnered with BREC and Pafford Medical Services with the support of NOLA Gold, Baton Rouge Rugby Club, and Lagniappe Women’s Rugby, there were over 30 youth attendees with more than half who never have played rugby coming from the surrounding areas of Ascension, Livingston, and EBR Parishes. Several adults took advantage of the vaccination drive that offered flu shots, covid vaccinations and boosters. The youth and parents enjoyed hands-on rugby led by NOLA Gold’s Dino Waldren, Christian Alvarez and George Sharpe.
We are a community- without your support, we can’t and won’t have accomplished our mission of growing and promoting play for our youth.
What to expect for 2022? January 15th, Youth Rugby 5 week sessions at Highland Rd Rugby Pitch March 26-27 HBCU Rugby Classic and Music Festival, Baton Rouge, LA May/June Redfish Youth Rugby Fest Highland Road Rugby Pitch, Baton Rouge June/July Youth Flag Rugby Travel Summer League December 10 5th Annual Winter Rugby Workshop
Follow us on social media (FB/IG) @BRYouthRugby
Cheers and see you at the pitch!