Rugby can be intimidating - It doesn't have to be.
The best way to discover what Ironsides Rugby is all about is to join us for practice. If you're feeling hesitant, nervous, or simply curious, this FAQ will give you all the information you need.
I've never played rugby before; will I have any idea what I'm doing?
Probably not. But that's okay. Many of our guys have come to us having never played or seen a minute of rugby union. If you've played any other sport before, some parts might come a bit more naturally, but many of our guys are first time athletes, too. Feel free to show up without any preparation, but if you'd like to prepare there are two things you can do: 1) Watch this intro video on YouTube. Follow it up by watching other videos, too. Just make sure you're watching rugby union, not rugby league. 2) Read this primer PDF made by one of our fellow IGR teams.
Can I just show up to any practice? Do I need to let anyone know?
If you're brand new to rugby, the easiest times to show up are at the first few practices of our Fall and Spring seasons or at our annual Summer "Boot Camp." Players with a bit more experience might feel more comfortable jumping in during the season. However, any player, of any skill, is invited to each and every practice. Participate in only what you feel comfortable doing. Just remember: The only way you get more comfortable is by jumping in and doing it! Don't forget that you'll need/want a mouthguard to participate in any drills that involve tackling. It's always good to fill out the contact form or send us an email if you're coming, that way we can look out for you, but you don't need to let us know.
I'm not sure I'm in good enough shape for rugby. What if I can't keep up?
We won't lie, rugby is intense; the intensity will build as the season progresses. It's not easy, and everybody needs to push themselves to become a good player. But for our teammates who have stuck with it they've found that eventually they could keep up, and it has transformed their physical bodies and mental toughness.
Is there a chance I could get injured?
Yes. Same as any sport. But the training and the laws of the game are designed with player safety in mind. We'll teach you how to minimize the risk. Tackling and other contact will also start out light and intensify as time goes on.
What should I wear? Do I need any special equipment?
For your first practice, bring cleats (rugby or soccer), t-shirt and shorts you'd wear to the gym, and a mouthguard.
Do i need health insurance to play?
Yes, it's required. You'll be asked to provide a copy of your insurance card to the team secretary.
What about fees and dues? Does it cost a lot to play?
Rugby is among the less-expensive sports as there isn't much equipment! When you play your first match, the team will provide a jersey, shorts, and socks. You'll need to bring cleats, mouthguard and any compression items you like to wear. We do have seasonal dues as part of our team. Dues are currently set at $125 per season. These dues enable us to pay our coach and provide some subsidies when we travel for tournaments in places like Montreal, Philadelphia, England, and Australia. Additionally, there is an annual fee of $85 with USA Rugby in order to be registered as a player. Don't let finances stop you from showing up.
When and whom do we play?
"Saturday's a rugby day!" (It's a song - you'll learn it.) Most of our matches are on Saturdays. During the Fall and Spring, we play other teams in the New England Rugby Football Union (NERFU). We play about ten matches in the Fall, and six in the Spring. About half of our matches are at home, and half see us travel throughout New England. Additionally, as a member of International Gay Rugby (IGR) we frequently travel around the world for tournaments against more than 60 other IGR teams. These include regional tournaments along the East-Coast in the USA and Canada, and a bi-annual tournament - the Bingham Cup - which rotates host sites around the world. You can read more about the Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament here.
Do I have to be gay to join the team?
Nope! While many of our teammates identify as gay or bisexual, there are plenty of guys who identify as straight. We are proud to be the only team in NERFU who has chosen to be an intentionally inclusive club.