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The popularity of high school rugby has always been evidenced in the area north of San Francisco, up to Sacramento. For many years, the region offered the Sacramento Valley High School Rugby Conference annual Kick Off Tournament. In 2006, 32-teams, coming from 17 schools, contested titles in four divisions in the 22nd edition of the event. The matches were played at Granite Park on February 4.
To give all players a chance to compete, schools entered multiple sides in the event; Jesuit sponsored five, while Davis, Rio, Cougar, and Mother Lode fielded three teams each.
Jesuit, perennial rugby powerhouse and National High School Champion, won the Gold Division via a 19-3 win against Live Oak. Christian Brothers of Sacramento gained the Silver Division title defeating Rio Linda 22-17.
Jesuit brings out 150 students every year for its excellent rugby program, a model for other high schools to emulate. It has been especially successful recruiting crossover athletes from other school sports. Its opponent in the final, Live Oak, was in only its third year of a new rugby program, testimony to the enthusiasm of an all campus club with volunteer coaches.
The two Silver Division finalists, Christian Brothers and Rio Linda, were second-year clubs, both experiencing varsity status. The game was won on the last play.
A wonderful outcome occurred in securing referees when the NorCal Referee Society warned they could not supply sufficient refs for the Kick Off Tournament due to competition from the Try For Others event scheduled in San Francisco on the same day. But then USARRS Secretary Charlie Haupt sent out an urgent message across America, pleading for other refs to come to northern California and pay their own expenses. The serendipitous response witnessed the arrival of four refs coming from far away, followed by three more locals coming to work the tournament.