O'Neal Students Learn Rugby
Flag rugby is in full swing at The O’Neal School.
As a unit in their physical education curriculum, O’Neal seventh and eighth grade boys are learning the game.
By a reference from Ashley Leis, manager of the Southern Pines Rugby team, Jacob Comte, the team’s “winger,” helps to teach the fundamentals.
The effort has been spearheaded by Richard Catania, Upper School director and former rugby player. David Wood, Upper School teacher and member of the Southern Pines Rugby team as well as O’Neal senior, Garrick McAlhany, who was former “prop” on the rugby team at the International School of Bangkok and is now also a member of the Southern Pines Rugby team, have also joined physical education teacher Don Woodfield in its organization.
“Mr. Wood, Mr. Comte and Mr. McAlhany are outstanding young men who serve as great role models and great coaches for our young boys,” Catania said. “They have undeniable leadership qualities and they are effective, kind, compassionate, dynamic, inspiring coaches.”
The class has now been divided into four teams named after noteworthy rugby teams around the world: The Wallabies, The Springboks, The Pumas and the All Blacks.
“We started an intramural tournament,” said Catania. “At every game, I see the skill level and the enjoyment level rising steadily.”
Pending the success of this pilot program, the opportunity to learn rugby may be expanded to more grade levels in the Middle and Upper Schools.
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