Whidbey rugby gets rolling

The Whidbey Island Rugby Football Club is seeking to expand its roster.

“Rugby, the second most-watched, most-played sport in the world, is coming to North Whidbey.Organized by local rugby enthusiasts, the Whidbey Island Rugby Football Club competes throughout western Washington and Canada in an 18-game schedule that lasts from the first part of September through May. The team has already begun its preseason preparation and is seeking to expand its roster.“We’re always taking new players,” said head coach Jeff Coffman. “We’ll take anybody that comes, whether they have a lot of experience or have never played before.”Although the majority of team members are military, the number of civilians on the roster is growing steadily, Coffman said.The team will participate in Canada’s Fraser Valley Rugby Union in the third of three divisions. The first division, also known as the Super League, is the rugby equivalent of the National Football League and includes teams from throughout North America and Europe.“I have played first division rugby in Europe and I even played on an international all-star team,” Coffman said, adding that the North Whidbey team is open to all levels of ability and always looking for new members. “We’re also always looking for sponsors to assist with the league’s cover fee as well as various tournament entry fees,” he said.Currently the team practices two-to-three hours, twice a week at North Whidbey Middle School, also the site of its home matches. The team played its first preseason home game against Chiliwack, B.C., on July 26. Once the regular season starts, members can expect to play one match per week on Saturdays.Anyone interested in learning more about the North Whidbey Rugby Football Club can contact Coffman at 679-3609 or by e-mail at jeff_coffman@westcoastrugby.com or reach Manny Alvarez at 240-6665 or m_alva4@hotmail.com. “