It seems as though basketball and golf are no longer the only sports Orlando is known for. With the rise of teams like Orlando City Soccer Club, Orlando Hurling Club and now the Orlando Men’s Rugby Team, the City Beautiful continues to develop as an up-and-coming sports epicenter.
Started in 1970, the Orlando Men’s Rugby Team hold a fairly rich history. If you don’t know much about rugby, here’s a quick “Rugby for Dummies” run-down: The sport originated from the United Kingdom. It is a team game played with an oval-shaped ball that may be kicked, carried and passed from hand to hand. Players score points by grounding the ball behind the opponents’ goal or by kicking it between the two posts and over the crossbar of the opponents’ goal.
The OMRT finished this season at 19-1 (11-1 in league play), and have locked a spot in the National Rugby Playoffs. The team, lead by head coach Alan Dodimead, impressively won their last match against Fort Lauderdale, 41-12.
Next week the team heads by bus to South Carolina to take on the Charleston Outlaws on April 14 in the first round of USA Rugby South Playoffs. As exciting as this match-up will be, times are tough, and not everyone on the team can afford the travel expenses associated with the trip. In that regard, the team is currently accepting donations online while pursuing other fundraising opportunities as well. (They already have a quarter of their $4,000 goal.)
“We’re hoping that through donations we can tackle two fronts,” Jason Hamilton, OMRT sales representative says. “The first would be to fund our playoff run and hopefully bring home a national championship to the city of Orlando. The second would be to create exposure for the club.”
More information on the Orlando Men’s Rugby Team can be found on their official website. To watch the players in action, fans are welcome to attend open practices at Barnett Park (4801 W. Colonial Drive, all the way in the back of the park) at 6:30-9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. To make a donation to the team, visit the team’s fundraising website.