King’s Park Versus Yabra in First Ever Rugby Sevens Game
On Saturday, for the first time in Belize, two teams will be competing in a Rugby-Seven match. The sport started in the nineteenth century by William Webb Ellis, who in the middle of a football match picked up a ball and ran to the end of the pitch. It started in a town called Rugby in England and the sport for some time now, is being introduced to Belize by Tony Gillings. The founder and president of the Belize Rugby Board has been working around the clock, teaching the football-type sport across the country, specifically to the youth. Gillings told News Five today that Belizeans who have not witness the sport should come out to the Lake I Complex Football Field to see junior teams, King’s Park Rugby Football Club and Yarborough Rugby Football Club, faceoff.
Tony Gillings, Founder/President, Belize Rugby Board
“What we play here in Belize is called Rugby Sevens, which is a very small version of the bigger game. But you are still using a huge field; you are using a soccer sized pitch but there are only seven players on each team. So you are doing a lot more running, there is a lot more ball passing, a lot more physical contact, but it is a short came. It only lasts seven minutes per half and that is what we are doing in Belize.”
“You said that there has been a traction surrounding it; you find more and more people participating, learning more about the game. Talk to us about that; introducing it here to the Jewel and where it is.”
“We started doing this back in 2014; that’s the year I proposed introducing rugby into Belize, but I was living in Ireland at that time. So I was coming back and forth, talking to people about rugby, trying to get the interest. I moved here two years ago and started teaching kids rugby—little kids and big kids of all ages—boys and girls. And gradually people started to get the idea that man this is a great sport; it is an exciting sport, it is a physical; sport. But it’s a sport where a whole team has to work together; it is not like football where you can get one person who can literally be the star on the team who can take the ball from one end of the field to the other without passing it or anything. Rugby you have to have a team because, unlike any other sport in the world, the ball cannot be thrown forward or passed forward. The ball can only be passed sideways or backwards. Like in American football, you can launch the ball way up the field; you can’t do that in Rugby. So everybody therefore has to work as a team to move the ball from their field up to the goal line.”
Gillings says that there are also rugby teams in Orange Walk, San Pedro and Cayo. Wesley College has started a rugby program as part of its Physical Education program.