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Is rugby safe?

Pretty much. We are talking about a full-contact sport, after all, so there’s always the chance for something to happen. However, injury rates in rugby are comparable to sports like soccer or lacrosse, not sports like American football or ice hockey. When ruggers are injured on the pitch, it’s usually along the lines of a sprain, muscle pull, or bloody nose — painful, but not serious, and not necessarily rugby-specific.

Of course, you may not be comfortable with that risk, or you may feel that rugby is too rough for your tastes. That’s fine; rugby isn’t for everyone. Just give it a try before you decide that.


What kind of build do I need?

What kind of build do you have? A good team will have players of all shapes and sizes – from short to tall, from lean to beefy, from couch potato to super-jock – with some fast players, some agile players, some strong players, and some durable players. What’s important for all players physically is that they’re healthy enough to run a lot over the course of a match or practice. Rugby is fantastic cardio and leg work, so don’t worry if you aren’t in top shape now: you will get there fast.


Is there an age limit?

To practice or play with us, you need to be at least 18. There’s no set maximum age. Many ruggers keep playing well into their forties or fifties.


Can women play?

Yes! There are lots of women ruggers, and they’re a great bunch to get to know. However, since USA Rugby prohibits co-ed matches that involve tackling, and since we’re trying to bring rugby to the gay and bi male community, we’re focusing on recruiting men for now. If you’re a woman who’s interested in playing rugby, please check out the St. Louis Sabres (and tell them the Crusaders sent you).


So why focus on gay and bisexual men?

Rugby is a very social sport, both on and off the pitch, and it’s crucial to have a strong bond with one’s teammates. We think it’s helpful if we create an environment where gay and bi men can be themselves from the start, without worrying how others might perceive them.


Can straight men join?

Yes! We won’t turn down an eager player just because he’s straight.


Do you only play other gay-oriented clubs?

No. We play friendly matches and tournaments against other gay-oriented clubs each season in addition to teams like the Maryville Saints and Columbia Outlaws.


What if I’ve never played rugby before? What if I don’t know anything about rugby?

We’ll teach you. Don’t worry, everybody has to start someplace; we all did.


What equipment must I have to practice?

For you're first couple practices, you’ll need seasonally-appropriate workout clothes and decent athletic shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy. Most of our practices will be outside, in the evenings, during fall and early spring, so you should be ready for cold and/or wet weather. Your clothes are going to get dirty, and there’s a good chance they might get torn up, so don’t wear anything you’d mind losing.

Once you decide to stick with rugby, you will need a mouthguard for any sort of contact drill and soccer cleats or rugby boots. Please no football or baseball cleats, though. Any shoe with a toe cleat or metal spikes are prohibited in rugby. It would also be a good idea to invest in your own pair of rugby shorts and socks to wear to practice. These aren't needed, but can come in handy for certain drills.

  • Rugby shorts will cost around $20, and are specifically designed to withstand the rigors of the game. They will be short, and you will show a lot of leg, but that’s good because it’s less for a tackler to grab onto.
  • Rugby socks are knee-high and reduce the number of scrapes on your shins and ankle; most pairs will cost around $5-$10.


What equipment must I have to play?

You’ll need a mouthguard (as mentioned above) and cleats (same restrictions as above). We’ll provide the team kit (jersey, shorts, and socks) on match day.

  • You must have a mouthguard to play with us or to do any contact practice. Not only do mouthguards preserve our dazzling smiles, but they also dramatically reduce the risk of concussions. A good mouthguard will cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 to $20; any color or special feature is fine, but you won’t need straps. We recommend getting one that forms to your teeth as it provides better protection, has a warranty, and insurance should something happen to your teeth.
  • Rugby boots are the most important and most expensive piece of equipment you’ll buy, so you should wait to buy them until you know what position you’re likely to be playing. You can often get good soccer cleats for around $30, but you can spend lots more if you like. Any color is fine.


What about optional equipment?

There’s a lot of optional equipment in rugby, but the most common pieces are compression shorts, pads, shin guards, and scrum caps.

  • Most players wear compression shorts underneath their rugby shorts. These reduce the chance of some muscle injuries, minimize chafing, wick away excess sweat, and also keep everything tucked safely away (trust us, this is very important!).
  • Pads and shin guards need to be rugby-approved – they’ll say so on the package – or else the ref won’t allow them on the pitch. You may want to see which positions you’ll be playing before buying pads.
  • A scrum cap can help keep a forward’s ears intact during the scrum. Without one, the skin on your ears may be worn away, or you may develop “cauliflower ear”. Of course, you may not need one at all.

Finally, if you’re really serious about playing, then you really need to get your own ball and start carrying it around. A good one will cost about $20-$30.