Rugby team brings community to South

Hazel Mckinney

More stories from Hazel Mckinney


Hazel McKinney

The Southside Sabers is a rugby club in the South community that provides an inclusive sports team open to anyone interested. “It’s just a really supportive community and anyone who has ever felt out of place in other sports should definitely give it a shot no matter who you are,” said Senior Aria Wanek.

Students at South are playing women’s rugby for the South Side Sabers which is a rugby club for high schoolers in Minneapolis. The team is not connected to South High School but it practices only two blocks away. “We practice Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at the adult learning center on Lake Street, really close to South,” said freshman Lucy Reinert who plays on the women’s rugby team.

Rugby is a competitive team sport that involves tackling and a ball similar to the one used in football. “I think that when most people hear about rugby they just think of the contact but there’s a lot more to the sport and I think it’s really fun,” said freshman Eliana Thompson, another player on the team.

The sport is very similar to football in many ways. “It’s intense but it’s not as dangerous as football, in football it’s easier for you to get hurt but in rugby there’s certain ways that we tackle so that we’re not hurting people, we’re getting them down, so that we can play the game,” said Reinert. In rugby there is no required protective gear but most players wear a mouthguard which can help prevent injury to the jaw and mouth.

These injuries are easily prevented if you follow the rules of the game. “If you do get hurt it’s because someone isn’t playing right and then they’ll stop the game and it’ll get fixed so that’s another reason why it’s safe,” said Thompson. There are also two officials watching the match and making sure it is fun and safe for all of the players.

The players on the South side Sabers are having a lot of fun this season so far. “Rugby is going great, it’s very fun and the team is very friendly,” said Thompson. The coaches are also great influences on the players. “I really like [the coaches], I think they are really supportive and when you mess up it’s not, you don’t feel bad about it you just want to get up and do it again,” said Thompson. There are two coaches for the team. The head coach Nadine, and the two assistant coaches Gwen and Michelle. “The coaching is super good we have three coaches the main coach is named Nadine, she’s super energetic, she also encourages us to be loud, call the ball, and be safe, the main thing is being safe because we do do tackling and hitting,” said Reinert.

The community is very inclusive on the team. “I really like how accepting everybody is, it feels like everybody really wants you to be there and everyone wants you to come play no matter what skill level you’re at or if you’ve ever played sports before,” said Senior captian Aria Wanek. “They’re also financially accepting no matter how much you can contribute to it they’ll help you find a way to keep playing,” she continued. Thompson agrees, “the team and community is very welcoming.”

The team still has to work hard to get enough girls to play each year. “Right now we are kind of struggling to find people,” Says Wanek. Many people are hesitant to play rugby because of the amount of physical contact. “I was a little worried because I’m a pretty small person for rugby players, I’m pretty short but actually once you start getting into it you realize it doesn’t really matter what your body size is it’s just all technique,” said Wanek.

Rugby is still a very serious sport and requires determination to play. “It’s really physically exhausting, it’s a good physical test without feeling too beat up afterwards which is fun for me because I am really competitive,” said Wanek. But for anyone who might be interested in playing know that you will be included and supported. “I would encourage anybody to play who wants to,” said Wanek. “It’s a good sport because you can start out pretty late, I started as a junior, and you can learn really fast and everyone’s just super cool,” she finished.