This season, rugby will be a full-fledged varsity sport at Concord-Carlisle High School for the first time. Photos by Jon Straggas

CC rugby goes full-fledged varsity 

By Stephen Tobey   Correspondent
February 29, 2024

The Concord-Carlisle rugby team’s second season, starting soon, will be its first as a full-fledged varsity sport.  

CC rugby will now compete in MIAA-sanctioned matches in the Commonwealth Rugby Conference league.  

For now, CC will only field a boys’ team, though a girls’ program is a future possibility. 

“Last year, we had full support of the athletic department,” said Coach David Manion.  

“Talking to other coaches, we were told we’d have a better chance of getting the numbers up. The goal is to eventually have full boys’ and girls’ teams.”  

This season, rugby will be a full-fledged varsity sport at Concord-Carlisle High School for the first time. Photos by Jon Straggas 

The program will begin practicing March 13, earlier than the March 17 start date of other spring sports.  

As with football in the fall, the earlier start allows for non-contact conditioning practices before contact is introduced.  

The opening game is April 11 against Worcester at 4:30 p.m. and will take place on the grass field across the parking lot from the upper turf fields.  

Other upcoming games are against Cambridge Rindge & Latin, Malden Catholic and Blue Hills Regional Tech.  

Photo by Jon Straggas

Last year’s team had 17 players. Two sustained injuries, and two others joined later in the season for informal games against programs in neighboring communities.   

During a rugby match, 15 players are on the field simultaneously. A full roster allows for 23 players, and the rules allow each team to replace seven players during the game.  

Once a player leaves the game for any reason other than sustaining a cut or being evaluated for a concussion, they cannot return.  

“When we played other schools last year, they’d let us have some of their players,” Manion said. “They were good about that.”  

All 17 players on last year’s team were underclassmen, though two moved in the off season. Manion is trying to get the word out and get more players into the fold.  

“We’ve found that wrestlers make good rugby players,” he said. “We’ve also reached out to the hockey team.”  

Photo by Jon Straggas

In 2017, the MIAA became the first state high school association to sanction rugby as a varsity sport.  

The MIAA has championships in two divisions for boys and one for girls. Belmont has won the last two Division 1 boys’ championships and the last two girls’ state titles. Weymouth is the reigning boys’ champion in Division 2.  

Belmont coaches have been very helpful in getting the CC program going, Manion said.