Marines Connect with Athletes at The RCTs

The Marines, a signature partner of USA Rugby, have been busy over the past month, supporting youth rugby across America.

LAFAYETTE, Colo. - Over the past three weeks, one of USA Rugby's newest Signature Partners, The United States Marine Corps, has been traveling around the country throwing their support behind youth and high school rugby, at the Regional Challenge Tournaments (RCTs).

As part of their partnership with USA Rugby, the Marines have an integral part to play in the RCTs and their presence at the tournaments this year had an undeniable impact. With representatives sent across the country to meet, interact and support the next generation of rugby players, and potential Eagles, they left an indelible impact on not only the tournaments, but on the players and coaches too.

The Midwest's RCT tournament director, Heather Hartley noted about the Marines: "The US Marine Corps presence at the Midwest RCT was fantastic and extremely positive. The collaboration between rugby and the Marine Corps is a great winning combination that aligns teamwork, mental toughness, and elite female and male athletes.  We have new rugby fans with the US Marines."

During the tournaments, the Marines engaged with the athletes in a host of different and unique ways. Their involvement included: challenging the athletes at events to participate in competitions to see who could perform the most pull ups and squat thrusts, as well as, presenting trophies to each of the championship winning teams.  On top of this they also reached the participants through their Enhanced Marketing Vehicle (EMV), where they and the athletes learned more about one another.

"It was pretty awesome to see the young men and women out here with the kind of determination they have. You really don't see that in a lot of other places but we have that in common," said Sgt. Eric Gabriel, a Marine recruiter who attended the Midwest RCT.

"I came out to one of these tournaments a few weeks ago and saw hard these kids were playing. I went home and told my wife, 'let's sign our son up to play rugby,"

By all measures it was a successful first collaboration between the RCTs and the Marines. As the bond between rugby and the Marines continues to grow, it will be exciting to see how they will continue to impact the sport across all levels.