Fierce females

A Keedysville teen plays the rough and tumble game of rugby

A Keedysville teen plays the rough and tumble game of rugby

May 05, 2009|By TAYLOR ECKEL / Pulse Correspondent

KEEDYSVILLE -- Jordan Maxey, 14, of Keedysville, had never heard of rugby until her brother started playing the sport.

"The first year he played I only went to one game and didn't really know what to think and during his game the girls team was practicing," she said. "One of the moms asked me if I would like to play rugby, but I said, 'No way!"

Jordan ended up playing touch rugby for two seasons before coach of U-19 West Carroll Lady Marauders, based in Carroll County, Md., asked her to join his team.

Despite her initial reluctance, Jordan now loves the game. Compared with other sports, she said she likes the togetherness.

"It's amazing how much of a family we all are. It's the best," she said. "Because of the intensity of the sport -- physically and mentally -- the people that play are more passionate and committed."


In rugby, the play is like soccer, but with hands instead of feet, and the methods of scoring are similar to American football. Players wear "kits," similar to soccer uniforms, but with thicker shorts designed for the lifting in line outs, and they must wear either rugby boots or soccer cleats. Although it is a full contact sport, no padding is worn.

"Everyone on the pitch plays offense and defense, and the number of each player signifies that player's specific position," Jordan explains. "Jersey numbers above 15 are worn by substitute players."

Players numbered one through eight are forwards. They are typically the larger, stronger players of the team whose main job is to win possession of the ball. Players numbered nine to 15 are backs, the smaller, and are known as the faster and more agile players. Their main role is to exploit possession of the ball won by the forwards.

During games, the action is almost constant, with the clock stopping when the ball goes out of bounds or there is an infraction of laws.

"If the ball goes out of bounds, it is restarted with a line-out," Jordan says. "Both teams form a line perpendicular to the touchline and one-meter apart from one another. A player of the non-offending team calls a play and throws the ball in air in a straight line between the two lines. Players of each team may be supported in the air by their teammates to gain possession of the ball. This similar to jump ball in basketball."

When the referee has called a minor infraction a scrum is used to restart play.

According to "Spectators Guide to Rugby" by USA Rugby, "Rugby's unique formation is the forerunner of the American football line of scrimmage ... players from each team form a 'tunnel' with the opposition."

The non-offending team (scrum-haft) puts the ball into the tunnel by rolling it into the middle and each team pushes forward until one player (the hooker) is able to hook the ball with the feet and push it through the row of players to the (eight man/woman's foot) of his/her team. The scrum-haft then retrieves the ball and puts it into play.

Jordan says she enjoys playing in the rain, and tackling other players.

"I love to help someone else get a try. I think that's what I like best of all -- that it's not 15 versus 1, it's 15 on 15."

What she likes is the strong team spirit and great camaraderie. Jordan says after games, the home team hosts a meal for all of the players.

"We all get to know each other and everyone is friends off the field," she said.

-- Taylor Eckel, 17, is a home-schooled senior. She likes playing sports, too.

Scoring in Rugby

Try: Five points are awarded to a team for touching the ball down in the other team's in-goal area. This is much like a touchdown in American football but requires the ball touched to the ground.

Conversion: Following a try, two points are awarded for a kick that goes through the goal posts. The attempt is taken on a line, at least 10 meters, straight out from the point where the ball was touched down. This is like an extra point in American football.

Penalty kick: Following a major law violation, the kicking team, if in range, has the option to "kick for points." Three points are awarded for a successful penalty kick. The kick must be from the point of the penalty or anywhere on a line straight behind that point. The ball can be played if the kick fails.

Drop goal: Three points are awarded for a drop kick that goes through the goal posts. A drop kick may be taken from anywhere on the field during play. A drop goal is similar to a field goal in football; however, in rugby the kick is made during the course of normal play. The ball is alive if the kick fails.

-- Courtesy of

Interested in rugby?

Check out these Web sites, or find the West Carroll Lady Marauders on Facebook.

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