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NorCal Rugby 101: Part III NorCal Rugby 101: Part III
Where To Find Rugby In Your Corner of NorCal? Last month, we discussed the nuances of the sport of Rugby, how to play it,... NorCal Rugby 101: Part III

Where To Find Rugby In Your Corner of NorCal?

Last month, we discussed the nuances of the sport of Rugby, how to play it, some of the laws, and what goes into making a good game. This issue, we delve into the history of rugby in NorCal, the governance structure and where you can find rugby to watch and play!

Who is Rugby NorCal?

Youth Rugby in Northern California has a storied history. Our oldest teams started competing in the 70’s at the High School level. After much growth and development, an organization, Rugby California, was created.  Created to govern youth and high school rugby throughout the state. After two years, it became evident that the state was too large for one organization to govern.


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On August 4th, 2010, the Northern California Youth Rugby Association was formally established. Four years later, in October 2014, the NCYRA Membership voted in favor of restructuring and adopting new by-laws. On February 4th, 2015, the NCYRA officially became Rugby NorCal.

Northern California is the largest youth & high school state rugby organization in the country, and we continue to experience rapid growth, with new members, new high school teams and new clubs joining every year. We commit to make rugby fun, safe and available to every child in Northern California.

Rugby NorCal runs an abundance of different leagues and codes (15s and 7s) throughout the year, from Chico down to Fresno and all points west. Our Club leagues serve Under-8s to Under-19s and run from January through May, with schedule lengths depending on the age. The rugby NorCal Summer 7s Series fills the summer! And also the opportunity for all kids to play 7s in a variety of tournaments around the region.

Rugby NorCal Mission

Our Mission is to leverage the values of the game of rugby in order to grow and legitimize the game at the youth and high school levels, and to then serve that membership — focusing on player safety — to enable rugby to be a recognized presence in Northern California. Our Vision is to prepare our youth to be positive and productive members of society, utilizing rugby as a vehicle to learn life’s lessons, foster personal development, and build character. Rugby is seen to be a valuable activity for the development of youth and high school participants and the pursuit of athletic endeavor. To accomplish this now, and in the future, we must:


Make sure every youth and high school administrator and facilitator has access to the Rookie Rugby and Try-On Rugby curriculum, and knows how to use it.

Create as many flag/after-school leagues as possible. 

Convert impressions made through Rookie Rugby and Try-On Rugby into full RNC Members, thereby growing the quality and number of our clubs and membership.

To parallel our youth & high school growth with an increase in quality coaches and referees that supports a larger, more dynamic membership.

To attain recognition from local youth and high school sanctioning bodies. This is in order to legitimize the sport of rugby in Northern California.

Rugby Entry Points

Since we’ve mentioned it, Rookie Rugby and Try-On Rugby were created as entry points to the game in a flag/non-contact setting. Try-On Rugby is our latest version focusing specifically on engaging the female demographic. Rugby NorCal runs many Rookie Rugby Leagues throughout the region. They are in partnership with local facilities in cities like Vacaville. And with local organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of Placer County. Also with Parks and Recreation of Rancho Cordova. Contact our office to learn more about either Rookie rugby or Try-On Rugby. Or visit for more details.

Rugby NorCal has just over sixty (60) actively participating clubs throughout our region. You can find the one closest to you by visiting Then click on the “Register” tab at the top of the page.

Friday nights, Saturdays or Sundays holds most of our matches. They comprise a round-robin/jamboree format at the youth (U8-U12) levels. Also they include full matches from Middle School up through High School Varsity.

In addition to youth, high school and adult club rugby, many of the colleges in Northern California also play. In fact, we have some of the winningest programs right here in Cal, Saint Mary’s College and UC Davis.

The Best are Coming!

Furthermore, the best in the world are coming to Northern California. The Rugby World Cup of 7s (7-a-side variation) is coming to the USA, and more specifically, it is being held at AT&T park in San Francisco! This is a four-day international tournament for both Men’s and Women’s National 7s teams. It is being held in July, with exact dates to be released on the first weekend of March. 

Rugby 7s is a carnival-like atmosphere with non-stop action on the field. Even if you don’t know or understand the sport fully, it is an event that will surely get you excited. Rugby fans are some of the friendliest people around, and will gladly take time to explain what is going on. If you don’t have plans for summer 2018 yet, make sure you block out some time. Get some tickets! And come on down to witness one of the greatest spectacles in world rugby.

Editors’s Note: You can view Parts I and II for this series in our January and February issues, respectively. Find them both on our new homepage at

If you have questions or would like more information on how to get involved, contact Mark Carney at or visit


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