Update: About 600 people attended, nearly $1500 was raised. The Defense Academy of the United Kingdom won the match 31-0.
The field is called a Pitch. | Each team has 15 players on the field at a time. All play offense and defense. | The game begins with a kickoff.
Three ways to move the ball - Running: A player running with the ball can continue until they are tackled, go out of bounds or run past the goal line. Passing: Only backward or lateral passes are allowed. Kicking: Any player can kick the ball forward at any time.
Four ways to score -Try: 5 points, for touching the ball down in the opponent’s in-goal area. Conversion: 2 points, for a successful kick through the goal posts after a try. Penalty kick: 3 points if successful, follows a major violation. Drop goal: 3 points for successful drop kick.Source: www.WhatIsRugby.com
The first ever rugby match under the lights at Yager Stadium at Moore Bowl is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The Topeka/Washburn Rugby Club will face students of the Defense Academy of the United Kingdom in a fundraising match to benefit the families of the two Topeka Police officers killed in December. A free will donation is the only entrance fee when the gates open at 6 p.m. A minimum $2 donation is requested.
Matt Crawford, president of the Topeka Rugby Club and a Washburn alumnus, said the club has a strong history of fundraising. Several current and former players work in law enforcement and knew the officers and their families. The fundraiser just made sense.
Topeka Police Cpl. David Gogian, 50, and officer Jeff Atherly, 29, were killed in the line of duty in December 2012. All money raised will help their families attend National Police Week events in May in Washington, D.C. The week includes candlelight vigils for fallen officers as well as the Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) conference. There, the families will be able to connect with others and learn coping skills.
Gogian was a former player on the rugby squad, which was started by Washburn School of Law students in 1972. Both officers were Washburn graduates with criminal justice degrees.
Students from the British defense academy visit Ft. Leavenworth for training twice yearly, in March and June, Crawford said. The troops have played summer matches against the Topeka club for the last few years.
“Rugby was born in England,” Crawford said. “It should be a really fun night.”
And it’s hard to know who will win.
“They always have enough players to field a team,” Washburn faculty member David Price said of the British. “Sometimes they just throw it together, sometimes they are very good.”
Price, who teaches marketing and entrepreneurship in the Washburn School of Business, is the faculty advisor of the club. Currently, there are five Washburn students on the squad.
Crawford said the night is about the officers’ families. “We are trying to get as many people out as possible to watch a crazy game.”