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Urban Rugby Championship Massive Celebration of Rugby's Reach

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Urban Rugby Championship Massive Celebration of Rugby's Reach

Photo David Barpal.

The Urban Rugby Championship braved cold and rain to complete its second event, and it was pretty special.

Seven inner-city rugby programs, all predominantly (but not exclusively) African-American, assembled in Los Angeles over the past weekend. Like many other games played around the LA Sevens, this event was moved to a venue with an artificial surface due to the enormously heavy rains hitting the region. In this case it was the Rancho Cienega Recreation Center on Obama Boulevard in LA, which featured a good field for the rugby and, charitably, a gym where the players could rest up and try to get dry in between games.

Tournament Sponsors: AEG Rugby; The Atlas Foundation; US Rugby Foundation; San Diego Legion Foundation; USA Youth & High School Rugby; Rugby LA; The Todd Clever Foundation

Teams competing (all teams had a boys team and a girls team except Dallas, which was boys only): Chicago Lions, Warren HS, Washington Warriors, Dallas Youth, Faith Family Academy, ICEF, and Memphis Inner-City Rugby.

MICR and ICEF had started this event in 2022, with the opening tournament held in Memphis. These two programs use rugby to help kids in low-income urban environments to grow and develop into successful adults. Rugby is merely the tool that brings them together, but the ethos of teamwork, respect for your opponent, and hard work are certainly endemic to the sport and make the rugby-as-tool that much more effective.

All of the players interviewed by GRR were effusive and excited about this competition. To find so many young rugby players who are also close to being their peers in terms of background and personal experience, was a special moment for them all.

The tournament was also kicked off with a Thursday-night dinner in which every team had to provide a performance. Songs, dancing, and a massive celebration of the sport and the participants ensued. Coaches who were there—especially African American coaches who remember being the only black player on a rugby team—were very moved.


Chicago Lions 12-5 Warren HS—Game Film
MICR 19-0 ICEF/View Park
MICR W-L Faith Family
ICEF 10-0 Faith Family—Game Film
Chicago Lions 17-5 ICEF/View Park—Game Film

Warren HS B 22-0 ICEF/View Park—Game Film
Washington 24-7 Dallas—Game Film
Chicago Lions 28-7 Warren HS A—Game Film
MICR 15-10 Warren HS B—Game Film
Faith Family 22-0 ICEF/View Park—Game Film
Warren HS A 26-12 Washington—Game Film
Chicago Lions 26-10 Dallas—Game Film
MICR 34-0 ICEF/View Park—Game Film
Faith Family 26-5 Warren HS B—Game Film

Chicago and MICR girls ended up 2-0, while in the boys bracket, the Lions, MICR, and Faith Family all ended up 2-0.