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Rugby gaining popularity on island

By: Bill Schechterly

Date Posted: 1999-01-08

There are presently two ex-pat Rugby clubs in Okinawa, Hansen Hellcats RFC and Exiles RFC that is active in Kadena area.

The teams play most Sundays in pick-up matches and scheduled Union tournaments throughout the island and also in mainland Japan locations. The sport is very big in mainland Japan with large Television and media coverage and scores of avid fans.

As in Japan, Okinawa Rugby Union is very popular and includes over eighteen Rugby clubs on the island consisting of high school, college, company, and men's A, B, and C divisions.

Okinawa also proudly hosts the Okinawa Old Boys team that has its membership made up of Okinawans and Americans, all over 35 years of age.

Besides playing on the island against each other, Okinawan teams have toured to compete with Bangkok Corsairs, Manila 10's, Osan Adashi's, Cp. Casey, 2nd Infantry, Seoul Survivors, Tokyo Gaijins, USS Blue Ridge / USS Independence teams and Taipei Baboons.

Planned future events include the annual Nago Mayor's Cup, to be played in January / February; tour to Korea to USFK Rugby Tournament in March; and matches against Manila 10's and Hong Kong Carlesburg 10's in March / April.

For more information, call Bill Schechterly at 634-4108 (work) or 957-0349 (home).

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