Kitsap Rugby Club has been nicknamed the “social club” of the Pacific Northwest Rugby League. Many of the players are either on active duty or former military members who enjoy rugby, creating friendships and knocking down a few beverages in between.
“Since we are military-affiliated, we have a lot of active duty folks who transfer and a lot of Department of Defense employees who work weekends,” team captain Zach Duvall said. “It’s always been fluctuating, and we are OK with that since we are about having fun and camaraderie.”
Kitsap Rugby Club is listed as a Division III rugby club in the league. However, it decided to host the Hot Boys of Summer 7s Tournament at Anderson Hill Athletic Fields in Silverdale July 22. “It took a lot of time reaching out to every team, coordinating with USA Rugby, reserving the fields, making sure it’s insured and all the administrative work,” public relations and player David Boedeker said.
The tournament was planned to have eight teams from Tacoma to Bellingham. However, a few teams backed out. Therefore, Kitsap and a few teams across the water played against each other. Although the 7v7 rugby games were competitive, it was more about the atmosphere. “There are teams that want to pursue 7s but most 7s tournaments are a giant party,” Boedeker said. “We are the party club so let’s bring the tournament back. It will be like a giant barbecue with rugby.”
The 7s tournament is Kitsap Rugby’s first it has hosted since before COVID. “I was excited to hit a couple of people and get a couple of breakaways,” AJ Titus said. “We know a lot of the guys coming out so it’s good to have a friendly match.”
The club decided to bring back a local tourney because it can help grow the club that has been rebuilding since the pandemic. “The main reason why we are doing this is to help our growth and get our name back out there in the Pacific Northwest,” Duvall said.
When the team returned in the fall of 2020, practices would have around five players. Nowadays, the team is rostering a full squad at each practice and up to 30 players at a tournament. “It’s wild to see how things have changed since the pandemic,” Titus said.
Even though the first tournament was small, Kitsap Rugby Club hopes to make it an annual event. “What we have planned is going to be the best summer tournament in the Pacific Northwest,” Duvall said. “We have a tournament not well-known since it is our first year but it works in our favor.”
Boedeker said, “We are not here to make money but put on a good show and build lasting friendships.”