Edina Boys’ Rugby Team plans to travel to Scotland


photo courtesy of Aiden Anderson

The Edina Rugby Team competes at the 2016 State Final.

Emma Bailey, page editor

On Feb. 18, the Edina High School Boys’ Rugby Team will be heading to Scotland for a full week in order to train with one of Scotland’s professional rugby teams and immerse themselves deeper into the culture of the game, which is much more popular in northern Europe than in the States.

“[Rugby] is a pretty foreign game to a lot of people here,” senior captain Pericles Angelos said. The team will be staying in Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, and training with the Glasgow Warriors. They plan on commuting from Edinburgh to Glasgow in order to train on the Warriors’ home turf, the Scotstoun Stadium.

The Hornets plan on playing two to three games and having two or three training sessions with the Warriors. While there will be adult chaperones and EHS rugby coaches to supervise the Edina players, the Glasgow coaches will be doing the majority of the training for the boys.

When the team isn’t preparing for international endeavors, they’re playing whichever teams they can find, whether that’s a Minnesotan team or a Midwestern team from another state. Normally, they play high school teams from Duluth, Eagan, and Mounds View, which differ from the normal lake conference competition. “There aren’t too many teams in Minnesota, for 15s at least, which is the type of rugby that Edina plays, but we have enough people here for a JV and a varsity team,” sophomore varsity player Aiden Anderson said. Anderson emphasized the comradery of the team and commended his captains for helping him grow in his rugby skills.

EHS coach Chris Babiash has coached several collegiate rugby teams, and has used his connections to set up this unique opportunity for Edina’s varsity and junior varsity teams. The team has generally traveled internationally every other year, frequenting places like England and Ireland, but Chris’ connections have provided a new training experience for players this year. Twenty-one years ago, when the rugby team began, an opportunity such as this one would’ve been unheard of.

While there, the team also plans on touring Murrayfield, the largest rugby stadium in Scotland, hanging out at the Glasgow Stadium, and visiting the famous Edinburgh Castle.

The boys are enthusiastic about their trip and look forward to immersing in the culture of rugby. While rugby is a less popular sport, the team’s attitude, along with their body mass, makes up for it. “I think a lot of people dismiss [rugby] because it’s not that big of a sport in the US, but it’s definitely worth giving it a try,” Angelos said.