Local rugby league is growing

At the end of last year, Paul Lynch set out to create the largest youth rugby league in California. This year, according to his estimates, he will likely reach that goal.

Lynch, a native of Belfast, Ireland who grew up playing rugby, said he has signed up about 100 participants for the second season of his American Youth Rugby League. Add the 75 players that will be merging with his new league from an extant association in Los Gatos, and Lynch is halfway there.

If he gets 350 participants, he said he will have the largest youth rugby organization in the state. Because enrollment only just began, Lynch is confident he will reach that number.

"There's not enough youth rugby in our area," said Lynch, who lives in Mountain View. He explained that there are more rugby leagues in the North Bay and East Bay, and that until now, parents had to drive long distances if their youngsters were interested in playing the sport -- which is often described as a combination of football and soccer.

Lynch said the league, which he co-founded with fellow rugby enthusiast Tom Trill, is not only growing in numbers, but that the players have also come a long way in just one year. This year he feels his league will be ready to participate in a tournament held in the Sacramento area. To conclude the season, Lynch plans to take all of the league's teams -- he hopes for 20 squads of about 15 players each -- to the tournament.

He said rugby is a fun sport that is easy to learn and not as dangerous as people often think. The younger participants in his league play touch or flag rugby, for starters. But even when the kids get into full-contact play, he said injuries are not too common. That's because players are penalized for above-the-waist tackles and are instructed to tackle by the legs and from the side, instead of head on.


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Posted by MaryRuth
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 30, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Our nine year old played AYRU Rugby last year and had a great time. It was his best youth sports experience ever. Coaches, kids, parents - the best in sociability, teaching, and good sportsmanship. He's eager for a new season of muddy good fun to start.

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Posted by Bruce Sandell
a resident of Gemello
on Sep 30, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Our 10 year old son played AYRU rugby last year for the first time. He now lists rugby as his favorite sport. The training was great. They have a certification program where the boys get recognized for each new skill that they master.

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Posted by Paul Lynch
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 30, 2010 at 9:32 pm

If you would like to get your Children involved in AYRU rugby contact Paul Lynch at

"Rugby is perhaps the most intriguing of all team sports because it requires a very diverse spectrum of players to operate as one unit. Like football we need big kids in the offense and a small and fast kids in defense, but unlike football they have to play continuously as one cohesive unit, no quarter breaks, no time outs! Perhaps this is what give rugby teams their enormous sense of comradeship”.

“Rugby it a contest of speed and strength with a healthy sprinkling of intelligence and skills and its a beautiful hybrid of soccer and football with a little bit of wrestling thrown in for good measure”.

“Of all the sports I've played and watched it is the one that has given me most pleasure. I want to pass this feeling and appreciation on to a new generation of kids. Playing rugby not only develops latent athleticism in our youth but the unique culture associated with rugby instills strong discipline and creates a increased sense of responsibility. Rugby helps our children grow in confidence and teaches them respect for authority. Tom and I have a clear vision for AYRU and we are determined to make the silicon Valley a “hot bed” for this wonderful sport and a source of star players to represent the USA Eagles in the not too distant future”!

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Posted by Chris Kron
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2010 at 8:34 pm

This is a great program thanks to the efforts of Paul, Tom, the participants and their parents. Paul has done a tremendous job at organizing this endeavor and has created relationships with local college rugby teams including Santa Clara University Men's Rugby. We look forward to supporting the AYRU at our home games where the AYRU players will be ball runners and score keepers.

Thanks for all your efforts!

Chris Kron
Director of Men's Rugby
Santa Clara University Men's Rugby

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Posted by Araceli
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2011 at 12:19 am

I'm sixteen and a student at Santa Clara High School, and although I have no experience playing rugby, as my school does not have a rugby team and I have had little luck finding a league in my age group within the area. If anybody could point me in a direction that can lead me closer to my goal of joining a rugby team/league, I would greatly appreciate it. As far as i have come to know there are none in Santa Clara, Ca. itself, except for youth leagues of age groups much too young for myself, unfortunately. But knowledge of anywhere remotely close to here that holds the sport for teenagers of my age would be lots of help.

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