Sport Spotlight: Rugby 4 Kids in Des Moines

Sport Spotlight: Rugby 4 Kids in Des Moines

Rugby is a game that has developed over the centuries, its origins can be traced back nearly 2,000 years when China and Japan played an early form of the sport.  Even though it’s not a common sport in the U.S., Rugby is actually the second most popular sport in the world behind soccer. Kids in Des Moines primarily participate in the sport through high school clubs and at the collegiate level. 


A rugby match is a fast-paced, hard- hitting game that is 60 minutes long with no timeouts and only a 5- minute half time.  All players play both defense and offense at any given time during a game. And, most appealing is the fact that there is a position for everyone who wants to play – large or thin, short or tall. It’s also a social sport that praises competition but demands good sportsmanship.


There seem to be several rugby clubs popping up in Des Moines at the high school level, for both boys and girls, but there doesn’t seem to be any “organized” programs for younger kids. People also tend to think that rugby is football without the pads.  While the sports do have some similarities, the tackling strategy in rugby is actually more similar to wrestling and it has a much lower injury rate than either sport mentioned.  However, it is a very physical sport and injuries do happen.

Best For

Rugby players are unafraid of taking on a new challenge.  This team sport mixes strength, speed, agility, and welcomes athletes of all shapes and sizes.  Kids who like to be part of a group, have lots of energy and endurance will enjoy the game of rugby.

Time Commitment

Recreation League: Generally practice once or twice a week for an hour or so and may have a game or two a week during the season.

Competitive League: May practice several times a week and sometimes will have weekend games or tournaments you may need to travel to.


  • Ball
  • Mouth Guard
  • Rugby Shirt
  • Rugby (Scrum) Shorts
  • Rugby Boots
  • Rugby Socks
  • Helmet/Head Gear (for certain positions)
  • Shoulder Pads (for certain positions)


  • Club Membership: Varies depending on the club.
  • Travel Expenses: $100-$500 average per event
  • Ball: $15+
  • Mouth Guard: $5+
  • Rugby Shirt: $20+
  • Scrum Shorts: $15+
  • Boots: $40+
  • Socks: $2+
  • Head Gear: $30+
  • Shoulder Pads: $30+

Fees vary according to what is provided by the organizing entity.  Please keep in mind some fees are one time, others are recurring.  All costs are approximate.  As with any activity, as your child progresses, only your family can choose what you will spend in relation to your child’s specific goals within the sport whether competitively or recreationally.

Rugby Resources in Des Moines

The Iowa Youth Rugby Assocation is the sanctioning body for all youth rugby in the State of Iowa. You can find information about both boys and girls rugby, from non-contact recreational leagues to full contact All-State teams on their website.

What do you think, is Rugby a fit for your kid?

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