Denver Public Schools Follow Suit in Rookie Rugby

from USA Rugby:

DENVER – Florida and Texas are not the only states catching the Rookie Rugby fever. Denver Public Schools have quickly followed suit in hopes to spread this great game throughout their physical education classes.

On Monday, October 19, Physical Education (P.E.) teachers gathered at Asbury Elementary school in Denver for a hands-on Rookie Rugby training. Rookie Rugby is a safe, non-contact version of the game that is appropriate for boys and girls of all ages (mainly targeted for ages 5-12). The game is centered on teamwork, learning, fitness, and most importantly, fun. Programs are administered through schools, community-based and state-based rugby organizations (SBRO), as well as USA Rugby national events.

The P.E. Teacher Training that took place in Denver reached out to 19 P.E. teachers from 10 elementary schools, one middle school, and two high schools in the Denver Metro area. This spread of teachers and schools will reach out to 5,924 children in the capital city of Colorado. The Physical Education Coordinator for Denver Public Schools, Eric Larson, joined with J.R. Lapierre, Executive Director of Colorado Youth Rugby (Colorado’s State-Based Rugby Organization) and Erin Kennedy, Youth Development Manager for USA Rugby for the training.

“J.R. and Erin did an extraordinary job of presenting the sport of rugby to our teachers,” Larson said. “The workshop was informative, skill-based, and aligned with our district physical education standards.”

The afternoon events consisted of a brief introduction to the game of rugby followed by hands-on training in rugby skills and games. Teachers had the opportunity to come up with ball familiarization drills and games and then teach them to each other. This activity gave the teachers the opportunity to use their creative side as well as their teaching skills. Fifteen of the participants filled out post-session evaluations, rating the training on a scale of 1-4, with 4 being the highest rating. Of the participants that responded, everyone rated the training with a 4. Some of the comments written down about the training were, “Great professional development,” “Active participation for all,” and “Showed us how to build and adjust to get to the real game.” Lapierre organized the afternoon events and served as a great resource on rugby in Colorado for the participants.

“Denver Public Schools provided us with this great opportunity to promote the benefits of “Rookie Rugby” to their P.E. instructors,” Lapierre said. “The P.E. instructors that attended the sessions are eager, engaged and motivated in the trainings. They have a great time participating in the games and skills, which translates to them as offering a fun curriculum to their students.”

Lapierre and Colorado Youth Rugby have also offered follow-up visits for the educators’ physical education classes.

Aside from going through skills and games, Erin Kennedy presented on USA Rugby’s free online resources that are accessible to the participants. These resources include (but are not limited to) the Rookie Rugby Guidebook, Games and Skill Packs, P.E. Curriculum, Free Online Rookie Rugby Course, and the Rookie Rugby Club, which are all available on the USA Rugby’s website.

“The valuable resources and curriculum provided by USA Rugby makes it very comfortable for the P.E. instructors to implement the Rookie Rugby programs, knowing that they also have opportunities for one-one-one follow up with local instructors,” commented Lapierre.

To download the Rookie Rugby guidebook, take the on-line coaching course, or for more information on how to get started with Rookie Rugby today, visit or contact USA Rugby Youth Development Manager, Erin Kennedy at

USA RUGBY, founded in 1975, is the national governing body for rugby and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Rugby Board (IRB). The organization is responsible for the development of boys, girls, high school, collegiate and club rugby programs, as well as the nation’s rugby coaches, referees, administrators and all of its national teams that represent the U.S. in international competitions. As part of this development, USA Rugby hosts a number of courses, clinics, National Championship events and international matches throughout the year. For more information, please visit

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