HOUSTON – To play sports, passion is a must. Rugby is no different and its competitors have the scars to prove it.
"The first game I played, I got a skull to the face, busted my nose open and I fell in love with the game right there," said Woodlands Fly Half Reid Romero. "It was awesome."
"I know I have had my fair share of injuries, dislocated shoulders, concussions and such but it happens," said St. Thomas captain John Boudreaux.
Such is life for many of these distinguished ruffians.
"It’s a Hooligan’s game played by gentleman and I consider myself a gentleman," said Romero with a laugh."
But while the sport continues to grow its following around the area with several club teams in the Woodlands and in Katy, few people know what it’s all about.
"When you tell people you play rugby, a lot of people ask ‘Is that sport with the sticks?’," said Boudreaux.
Sticks? No way.
Pure muscle? You bet.
"It’s you using your strength instead of using pads and what not to try and bring someone else down,’ said Woodlands 8-man Ryan Rackley. "This is you and yourself trying to take down another opponent."
Combine that aggressiveness with the rugged conditioning it provides and rugby has become more and more appealing to those who take the gridiron in the fall.
"This is my first year and coach told me I would be in the best shape of my life," said St. Thomas wing Rodrique Blouin.
"You play football, because everybody plays football," said Romero. "When you play rugby you’re playing with people who love the sport and you’re playing it with people who love it with you."
It’s that passion that these guys say they won’t find anywhere else.
"You have to be a rugby player to understand it," said Woodlands head coach and former Wasps player Phil Beck. "These kids, if they were standing in a pub in New Guinea, trust me, they would be brothers out there too."
"We’ve gelled unbelievably this season and just to come out here this year and be out here with my brothers is the best feeling in the world," said Boudreaux.