The charter of the Nevada Youth Rugby Organization is simple, according to its president, Eric Heinicke: "We want to get to the point where there's a rugby club in every high school and rugby programs down through middle school."
The group of about 25 Las Vegans meet twice a month to strategize on how to grow a sport that dates back to the 1800s and seems popular everywhere but the US.
"I don't know if I'd say overwhelming but very encouraged by where we are now," said Heinicke.
Currently Las Vegas has only three official youth rugby clubs with a total of about 100 players.
The group thinks the hurdles are finally starting to fall, though. In December, NYRO became affiliated and now operates under the umbrella of USA Rugby.
"That's very important when you talk to people and try to grow the game and get into schools," said Heinicke.
Kurt Weaver is the youth director of USA Rugby and met with the group Wednesday night in conjunction with the USA Sevens tournament that will take place this weekend in Las Vegas.
Weaver believes the valley has a major advantage over other cities trying to grow the sport with the Sevens tournament right in our backyard.
"Having the word and the game out there is huge for us because the next group who wants to play is the kids," he said.
NYRO hopes to bring beginner rugby clubs in a majority of high schools in Las Vegas within five years.
For more information, visit www.nevadayouthrugby.org.
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