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Oregon Tackle Rugby Returns with Girls Summer HS 7s

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Oregon Tackle Rugby Returns with Girls Summer HS 7s

Reynolds all chill, and winning.

Tackle high school rugby is back in Oregon with a summer 7s series for both boys and girls.

The first tournament was this past weekend at Glenhaven Park in Portland. After a spring season of just playing touch rugby players were itching to lay in a tackle or two, although it's worth noting that coaches on the girls side especially noted that some players were a little trepidatious about the full contact part, and wanted to stay playing touch.

Touch rugby, it turns out, is another doorway into the game, if you do it right. With members of the Portland touch rugby community visiting teams to teach them about the rules, teams were able to get an introduction into the rugby culture without all the hitting. For some players, that was a plus.

But, so it getting to tackle people. 

"It was really, really nice to play," said Reynolds HS Girls Head Coach Jason Haugen. "It was fun watching some of these girls coming off a Touch Super Six season trying to translate what they were doing into the tackle rugby arena."

One girl, upon being tackled for the first time, simply put the ball down on the ground, as per touch rules, before she realized she could get up, pick up the ball, and then keep going.

"Have the girls were itching to tackle and half were worried about it," said Haugen. "We have about five, as well as myself, still playing touch rugby because we enjoyed the environment."

Reynolds went through the first weekend of tackle 7s 3-0, beating Renegades 17-12, Valley Panthers 27-10, and Highlanders 19-17. Also unbeaten was East County, which beat David Douglas HS 38-10 and Valley 33-5, and tied Highlanders 12-12.

For Reynolds, Sarah Phillips, a convert from soccer, has been playing especially well.

"She is an incredibly smart player, handles contact well, has amazing field vision, is a good scorer and a good tackler," said Haugen. Bridget Perez, who will be attending Lander University and playing rugby there, has been playing some strong rugby and her kicking has been excellent.

"She will score a lot of extra points for us," said Haugen. 

All of that is nice, but this is mostly about playing and developing the culture. The winning is a by-product.

"The girls are all bought into the fact that it's nice to win but we're working on having high energy and creating a good safe spot for these girls to play, show their creativity, and maintain the right flow," said the coach.

This weekend it's back to Glenhaven Park, where Reynolds has a date with David Douglas, Renegades, and the Bend Timberwolves. East County will play those same three teams. 

Also on the slate:

David Douglas vs Highlanders
Highlanders vs Valley Panthers
Bend Timberwolves vs Valley Panthers
Bend Timberwolves vs Highlanders
Valley Panthers vs Renegades

And, finally, some tackling in Oregon.