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To Be Broughton Or Not Be Broughton; New Team NC Champs

HS Boys

To Be Broughton Or Not Be Broughton; New Team NC Champs

Not Broughton High School’s first year in rugby has ended with a state championship.

The team defeated Corinth Holders in the semi on Saturday during the Charlotte Ruggerfest, and on Sunday defeated the Providence Panthers in the final.

For Not Broughton, this was a huge triumph, coming as it did in the program's first year. The name even has a story. Broughton High School's athletic director denied a request to start a rugby program at the school—he wouldn't issue a club charter—but players still wanted to play. So they called themselves Not Broughton as a dig at the school. The coaches wore "Not Coach" on their jackets. The parents, many of whom had kids who played on the Raleigh Redhawks HS club team, rallied around the program.

The team found their own practice fields through Raleigh Parks and Rec, Raleigh Rugby Club and then finally with the Raleigh Redhawks when they started up for the club season. "

Basically it was a couple of idiots deciding that we didn't care what the AD said," said Coach Kiwi (James Roberts). "So we used whatever piece of grass we could to practice on. Luckily for us the school has a number of Raleigh Redhawks at it so we knew we could field a team."

That helped them hit the ground running, and Not Broughton started winning rugby games—enough to get them in the top three in the Northern Conference and into the state playoffs. On Saturday, Not Broughton defeated Clayton's Corinth Holders High School, also a first year school fed by the powerful Clayton Youth Rugby program.

Sunday’s final against Providence was a nailbiter. Not Broughton were down by eight with just over two minutes to go when they scored. Aidan Laros (MVP of the game) hurried his conversion attempt knowing that those two points wouldn’t win the game, but could lose it. That left enough time for one more play. Not Broughton took possession from the restart and with the help of a few penalties got down into Providence’s 22. Unable to kick for the line as Providence were winning every lineout, Not Broughton continued to tap and run the ball wide, and with time up on clock, scored the game-winner.

Coaches Toby Dickens and Kiwi spoke after the game that the biggest decision that they had made for the final was to not put in a star player who had just returned from Las Vegas after playing for USA South.

“We decided to stick with the team that was there apart from having to replace a player who had been red-carded on Saturday," said Dickens. "It was not a popular decision but we thought it was the right decision to make for the team. We wanted to reward consistency and we wanted to respect the players”

Joked Roberts: “We were lucky that it ended up the way it did so we don’t have to spend the rest of the year kicking each other ... or getting kicked by others”

Not Broughton’s entire bench was comprised of 9th-graders, so this is not a one-year wonder. The team won with only four seniors, and will send players to the Redhawks, Cary, and Chapel Hill for the HS club season.

And next year? Well, Broughton HS has a new Athletic Director, but maybe now the rugby program will be negotiating from a position of strength.