Rugby gives players an “international brotherhood”

Signe Stroming, Editor-in-Chief

“There’s nothing like being a rugby player,” senior and Varsity rugby player Connor Sorensen said. “It’s just an international brotherhood.”
And playing for the Liberty Rugby Club is certainly something to be proud of. The mens U19 team is ranked first in Washington and fifth in the nation. The club has even made itself known on the international level with recent tours to New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
“In Liberty Rugby, we play at such a high caliber of play that the only way we ever lose is when we play against ourselves—when we don’t play at our level of play and we play down to other team’s level,” Sorensen said.
It shows. The team is 8-1 this season and has high hopes for another State title this year.
“As a New Zealand guest player on our team last year said, ‘Cool in the head; fire in the belly,’” Sorensen said. “We just need to keep calm and keep playing smart rugby… If we do that, I expect us to definitely win another State championship this year. It’s what we want more than anything.”
Sorensen began playing his sophomore year after Liberty alumnus and rugby player Austin Liddell suggested he try out.
“I stepped out here in the spring, first time ever, on this field here. I think it was like the second practice… and I just felt immediately welcomed in,” Sorensen said. “It was something I’d never felt before in my life.”
High school rugby is growing quickly in the United States. Between 2004 and 2011, rugby participation in the U.S. grew by 350% according to One draw of the sport is its focus on community.
“The family of it all is so surreal, like we really are a brotherhood,” Sorensen said. “We say it all the time and you hear it all the time, but it really feels like that.”
Liberty Rugby draws players from Eastside high schools, including Liberty, Tiger, Kentwood, and Tahoma.
The mens U19 team will play the Budd Bay Barbarians at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, at Rainier Vista Park in Lacey.
“I suggest everybody come out and watch a game and try to figure it out, because… once you get past that… oh my gosh, it’s such a fun and complex game,” Sorensen said.