Tri-County Rugby league: a sport, a team, a family


Caleb Tomasin

The team poses in the rain after defeating Cal Poly’s team

Hudson Reynolds, Editor-in-Chief

This article was originally published in February 2020.

Rugby is a game that is played throughout the world. It uses an oval-shaped ball similar to an American football but slightly larger. The game consists of 13 to 15 players on the field per team, depending on the type of rugby: league or union, respectively. There are substitute players as well.

The Tri-County Rugby League on the Central Coast is a high school team for local rugby players. Cole Nally, a senior at AGHS, has played rugby for 10 years and continues to love the sport more after each day. 

“I really love the atmosphere of the sport and how tight of a family our club has become,” said Nally.

The game is played similarly to football, where the goal is to move the ball down the field in the direction before eventually scoring. It’s known as being a pretty rough sport too, but that doesn’t make it any less fun for the players. 

“It’s the most physical thing you will ever do in your life but once you get into the game‒and get dirty‒you will never want to quit,” said Nally.

Rugby is a physically grueling sport. It’s dangerous too, as players generally wear no form of head protection, but that doesn’t stop players from giving it their all every time they’re on the field, which is sometimes called the pitch.

“The worst injury I have received is a very bad concussion and every finger broken on one hand but it was all worth it one hundred percent.”

Caleb Tomasin runs the ball down the pitch in the rain at Talley Fields (Image courtesy of Caleb Tomasin)

The team practices twice a week for an hour and a half per session, then they usually have games every weekend, which are about an hour-long each. There are at least fifteen games per season for the Tri-County Rugby League. 

“I’d say the most important skill for a rugby player to have is the ability to go with the flow and be a team player. Rugby isn’t about how fast or strong you can move because without a team you’re nothing,” said Nally. When the team isn’t playing, they still hang out often.

“We barbeque almost every weekend and just hang around and kick back‒at the beach or where ever.”

The companionship that Nally’s rugby team has is one of his favorite things about getting to play the sport.

“We have raised countless dollars for those in need, whether they have played for us or not, but I’ll tell you what, if you’re ever in a pinch on of your brothers will have your back no matter what.”

Nally didn’t say “teammates.” He said “brothers,” because that’s how they treat each other. For Nally, that brotherhood is a highlight of the sport.

“My favorite part about rugby is the intensity and brotherhood of the sport. Everyone wants to kill each other on the field but be a family off the field no matter what.”

His favorite match was during the rain in December 2019. Players were rushing through the rain, mud, and wind, chasing each other for the ball yet somehow simultaneously having a blast. 

“The best experience for me, in all my years playing rugby, was matching up against Cal Poly’s team. We played combined with Cuesta College, and me being 17 years old and beating a college team made it the best rugby experience I’ve had so far.”

For those looking to get into the sport, Nally offers some helpful advice:

“Come out to the practices and games and get a feel for things, but if you just want to play just show up. That’s the best way.”

The Eagle Times would like to recognize Cole Nally, Caleb Tomasin, and all the AGHS rugby players for their dedication to following their passion for the sport, even in the rain. Impressive victory, congratulations!