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Oregon-Stoughton rugby looking toward state title and growing the sport

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OREGON (WKOW) -

As the high school spring sports begin to wrap up, so are some of the club sports - including rugby.

The Oregon-Stoughton rugby club had pretty humble beginnings.  The club began a few years ago, after Rich Bergemann's son decided he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and play his sport.

"The hardest thing about getting a rugby team going is getting 15 [players] to play," said Rich Bergemann, the coach of the Oregon-Stoughton rugby club. "It's so competitive with the other varsity programs - track and field, baseball, soccer, and lacrosse going on."

In 2013, the club found the players. Bergemann became the coach. And now in its 5th year of existence, the Oregon-Stoughton rugby club is undefeated and in the playoffs.  Meanwhile, the league is also hoping to grow the sport.

"It's not like 1980's rugby," said Coach Bergemann. "Rugby now has come a long way. USA Rugby, we're sanctioned through. They put a lot of laws in play for youth development.  And Madison United rugby, who we're sanctioned under as well, focuses a lot on youth rugby. So [we're] building that up and getting the knowledge out that it's not as bad as people make it out to be for a contact sport."

"Everything's dangerous," said sophomore rugby player, Samuel Bergemann.  "I could flip my bike and I'd have more injuries than I've ever had in rugby."

Another of Bergemann's sons, Samuel, is a part of the current team.

"When I do play... when I get the ball in my hands, that's a certain feeling and you know that's also a great part of it."

"I like the physicality involved," said Jack Sommers, a senior rugby player. "I think it really involves a lot of aspects - mental, physical, endurance."

The Oregon-Stoughton rugby club will play in the state quarterfinals this Sunday, May 20th.

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