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Arizona Bobcats Example Of How Elite HS Rugby Is Growing

HS Boys

Arizona Bobcats Example Of How Elite HS Rugby Is Growing

The Las Vegas Invitational kicks off this week and it's a place where many select side high school teams have found room to grow, and get better.

The Arizona Bobcats program is certainly one of them. The Bobcats have continued to build and play well at 15s and 7s select side competitions, and are looking to make a splash at the Boys Elite bracket of the LVI. Ian Gregor has been working with the players and as looking take what has been a pretty good program and make it better.

It's a move some other regions are taking too - realizing that players who want to be seen and move up the elite pathway want strong coaching, organization, and competition all the way through. 

"We'vee expanding now into U16s and having an Open Division and Elite Division team," said Coach ian Gregor. "It just expands the development for the players. We're trying to build depth. It breeds success for a longer plan down the road. With the development of the NAHS 7s programs, we're trying to get into alignment with that."

"I very much so I enjoyed my experience with the Bobcats," said current USA player Dylan Audsley, who also won the Scholz Award as the nation's top college rugby player in 2015-16. "It provided me with an avenue to play with some of the best young players in Arizona and I’ve kept in touch with a few of the guys I played with in the Celtic 7s. I would definitely recommend the Bobcat experience to other young rugby players who are seeking to up their game and make memories in the progress. By playing with the best players in the region you are improving your performance by seeking out better competition and playing alongside other players with the same ambition to improve and play a higher level of rugby. I’m very glad to see the program is going strong and that it has progressed so far since I played. It’s great for rugby in Arizona and rugby in America."

Nafi Maafu, who is now in an academy program in France and who played for the HS All Americans, was a Bobcat in 2016. 

"It was definitely an invaluable experience and I wish I could play for the Bobcat 7’s one more time," he said.

"I am grateful to be playing for the Arizona Bobcats Program," said Jack Flanagan, who is on the roster for this year. "I enjoy learning the game, by playing and competing with this great group of high character and talented teammates and coaches. I like that we push each other to be the best we can be, while respecting the game we love. I feel with Coach Ian and his staff`s dedication to developing quality players, Arizona Bobcats Rugby will be very successful in the years ahead."

The Bobcats are an example of the growing interest in select-side rugby. It's not enough to just assemble players, they have to get something out of it - coaching, camaraderie, and competition all factor in. If players don't get that, they go elsewhere. The fact that the Bobcats program is growing and improving is telling.