SAN DIEGO – San Diego has a new professional sports team. Pro rugby will debut at USD’s Torero Stadium this weekend.
The first game of the season in San Diego is Saturday, when Pro Rugby San Diego faces Pro Rugby Sacramento on Saturday.
The profession rugby league is brand new. It began operations in March and the teams are so new that they don’t have real names or mascots yet. Those will come later, possibly based on fan input or sponsorships, but for the time being, teams are denoted by their home cities.
Rugby has many similarities to football, according to Coach Ray Egan. Both are invasion games. One big difference is you can’t pass the rugby ball forward. You can pass it laterally or run it or kick it forward.
Rugby is a contact sport, but players don’t wear pads or helmets. Players can use their heads when tackling and blocking. “It’s a little bit more controlled in terms of the tackling,” Egan said.
Organizers hope the game’s popularity at local schools will translate into a dedicated fan base. More than 60 local high schools have organized rugby teams, according to Egan.
This first season will be pretty short. Pro Rugby San Diego is scheduled to play five games between this weekend and July. San Francisco, Denver and Ohio also have Pro Rugby teams
Saturday’s game begins at 3 p.m. General admission is $30.
For more information about Pro Rugby San Diego, visit the team’s website.