S.P. Rugby Team Seeks New Blood
A breath of fresh air continues to circulate around locals looking for an alternative outdoor activity. For the past few years, the Southern Pines Rugby team has offered men and women in Moore County and beyond an opportunity to join a new sport, breaking the shackles that have bound them to activites such as golf, tennis or softball.
And although the fresh air may contain the distinct odor of hard-earned sweat, the sportsmanship and team camaraderie offer locals an opportunity to join for the love of competition and the enjoyment of socializing.
The young "ruggers" building the foundation of Southern Pines Rugby have seen the club continue to thrive over the past six years. Slowly but surely, the team has built a positive name for itself in rugby regions, from as far north as Richmond, Va., to Savannah, Ga., in the South. The team has notched notable victories against more experienced teams, such as the Charleston (S.C.) Outlaws and Cape Fear Rugby (Wilmington, N.C.), both Division II teams.
Recent success has included a third-place finish in a 16-team rugby sevens competition in Asheville, N.C., where the team was defeated by the hosting team in a playoff game. The success of the team, combined with the good-natured play, has built a strong reputation for Southern Pines Rugby among opposing teams.
One of several original members still keen to trod the turf is local biologist Steve Anchor.
Anchor joined as a novice when the team was first formed, never having seen a rugby ball, let alone played the game. Anchor has mastered several aspects of the game and now represents the team as captain.
"We really do offer a lot more than exercise or to quench the thirst for competition that many of us have," he said. "Every place the team visits or whenever we have a home match, there is definitely a strong bond between players and fans of the game. We've certainly marketed the name of Southern Pines in a positive way in many areas that didn't really know much about our town. We've had a few military guys come and play on the team as well as young professionals in the area. Our team is very welcoming and would encourage anybody interested in joining to come out and give it a try."
The Southern Pines Rugby team also offers opportunities for new members of the community to become part of a growing sport in the area. Walt Young recently moved to Southern Pines to take a position with local golf course architect Richard Mandell and was looking to learn more about rugby and what the team had to offer.
"I had a soccer background, having played a lot in college and high school, but was recruited by Steve [Anchor]," Young said. "Once I started practicing, met some of the other guys on the team, I lost interest in soccer and rugby really became my thing. I got to meet a bunch of people and through practice and everybody helping me learn how to play, I picked up the game in no time."
Members of the team come in all shapes, sizes and ages. The current roster of players includes 46-year-old Tim Landreth, a 20-year rugby veteran, and 21-year-old Jake Myers, former high school football star, who is excelling in his second season of rugby.
With a sprinkling of seasoned international players, the team offers plenty of opportunity for those with no knowledge of the game to learn how to play.
With the new fall season set to kickoff in September, Southern Pines Rugby is ready to recruit new players. As always, interest in sponsorship is most welcome as most funding comes from the players themselves.
Contact team captain Steve Anchor at 910-286-1436 for details about joining the team.
More like this story