Reviving Redwood Rugby

Pearse Gero

Rugby is one of the ten most popular sports globally, with a fan base totaling over 475 million followers. Redwood does not have an official interscholastic rugby team despite its worldwide popularity in high school, collegiate, and professional leagues.

Redwood previously fielded an extremely successful rugby team, founded in 1979. Three years later, in 1982, the Redwood rugby team won the first- ever national title, and former Redwood students, Gordon Wright, Pat Farley, and Rob Lopez were among those on the team. All three men are fathers to boys who they want to follow in their footsteps by playing the same sport as their own fathers. Unfortunately for their sons, by the time they were Re dwood students, the rugby program had been shut down entirely, so they decided to take matters into their own hands and began recruiting to form a non-school affiliated frosh-soph rugb

y team. This makeshift team consisting of only 14 players has now blossomed into a nationally competitive program known

 as the Marin Highlanders Rugby Club.

The Marin Highlanders have multiple teams of boys and girls 


ages 8-18. The majority of the players who make up the frosh-soph and varsity team are Redwood students. One such student is sophomore Carlos Moura Neto, who spoke on the potential Redwood rugby program.

Marin Highlanders Junior Varsity team racing past the competition in a match against the Danville Oaks.

 “I would love to play for the school. I think it would be sick to get to play against my rugby friends at other schools.”

Carlos’ excitement to represent Redwood on the rugby pitch is shared by many other players on the Highlanders team. Van Hampton, another sophomore at Redwood and member of the Highlander frosh-soph team gave his remarks on the prospect of a Redwood rugby team.

“Rugby is my favorite sport and I would take any chance I can get to play. I think it would be a ton of fun if [Redwood] made a team because I would get to play for my school.”

There are even students at Redwood that despite never playing rugby before, said they would be excited at the opportunity to play for a Redwood affiliated team. Junior Andy Sunderland spoke on reviving the Redwood rugby program. 

“The only reason I haven’t played rugby before is because I don’t want to have to pay to join a club team. Rugby seems super cool and I would definitely join [the team] if Redwood w

as to create one.”

Another potential benefit of creating a rugby team here at Redwood is that it could make the school money. Rugby requires no expensive equipment, unlike football, and can be played with only cleats and a ball. It does not require a high cost to be played. Rugby is also a fast-paced, violent, and thrilling game to watch. There is a reason it is one of the most popular sports globally. Creating a ruby team at Redwood would help the school financially by selling tickets because the games typically bring in large crowds. 

Marin Highlanders Varsity team pummeling through a tough defensive line.


All in all, there is a large population of students at Redwood who are eager to play rugby for their school. Restarting a program that proved itself capable of competing on a national level would also generate excitement, spirit, and revenue for the school.