Rugby in Houston gaining momentum with girls

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ABC13's Pooja Lodhia visits with The Barbarians, a group of girls from around the Houston area who are tackling the sport of rugby.

Rugby is one of the world's fastest growing sports, and more and more girls in the Houston area are getting involved.

"The first day, I fell in love with it. It was exactly what I wanted. It was the aggressiveness, the athleticism, and, like, the people," explained 16-year-old Dylan Kipp. "I have been playing for a little over a year and I haven't met one person that I don't like."

The same aggression that historically turned girls off the sport is now bringing them in.

"Rugby was that clique for me," said 17-year-old Margaret Gee. "It was that one place where I could go and I could be my true self and just give it all on the field and give it all that I have."

Their team is called The Barbarians, and it's is made up of both middle and high schools girls.

They don't have enough players yet to have separate teams, so girls from Houston, Katy and Cy-Fair play together.

"I initially started coaching junior high girls and I saw the confidence it brought out in them," said Coach Candace Poffenroth. "They're at an interesting age where they're learning about themselves and how to become women, and this gives them such strength and confidence and camaraderie that they build."

"The size doesn't matter in rugby," said 15-year-old Runa Katayama. "It doesn't matter if you're fast or you're slow. It doesn't matter if you're tall or short. It's that everyone who wants to do it, we have a spot for you on the team."

Local junior and high school rugby teams will be competing in a tournament on Saturday, Feb. 9.

If you'd like to get involved, visit The Barbarians' website.

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