Submitted by xcaughta t3_1191wou in boston

Are you a Pats fan that's sad the season is over and wants to fill that weekend void? A Sox fan waiting for the season to start? Your Major League Rugby team, the New England Free Jacks, began their season last week.

I personally have never played the game and it seemed too complicated to try to learn, but the second I gave it a chance the sport sucked me in and now I can't get enough of it. The more you learn, the better it gets. I know there are more like me out there, so I've made it my goal to spread the word and build support for our young team.

If you've ever been remotely curious about the sport of rugby and have been too afraid to ask about the rules like I was, consider this thread a safe space to ask whatever questions you might have. There aren't any stupid questions, so fire away!



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man2010 t1_j9kfuu4 wrote

I love rugby and would really like to see it grow in the US, but $35 for a standing room only ticket at the end of the field seems like a lot. Do their games sell out and are they strict about moving from SRO into the seated sections? It's hard to justify $35 for no seat with a bad view or $50+ for a seat at a low level rugby match (globally at least). For comparison to other lower level leagues, this about the same as it costs to see a Revs game and is significantly more than a Woo Sox game. You can even get Red Sox tickets at that price for certain games.


xcaughta OP t1_j9kiag3 wrote

They're not strict about people grabbing seats if they're open, which shouldn't be hard to find at least towards the beginning of the season. I do think they could start inching towards selling out as it gets warmer, if the team continues its success from last year. Crowds have been noticeably growing as time goes on.

That's fair about the costs... I believe the prices are that way because they include admission to the festivals in addition to the game. Gates typically open a few hours before the game, so there's live music, activities, other community rugby games, etc scattered around before the main event begins.

Even for those who can't make it to games can watch them all on TV and support the team that way!


man2010 t1_j9kliwe wrote

I appreciate the responseand always forget to put their games on. Maybe one day Kraft will get his dream of a smaller soccer stadium closer to Boston and the Free Jacks can play there with more ticket options


tacknosaddle t1_j9l01xo wrote

I was really hoping that they'd get that done where the old expo center was right near JFK/UMass & the highway. I'm not a soccer fan, but having a 25k seat stadium there would also have other options for concerts & things (like this rugby team if it gets a bit more popular) which would be pretty cool.


man2010 t1_j9l1s6t wrote

Agreed. I'm not a huge soccer fan either, but I'd probably go to a Revs game here and there if it didn't require going all the way to Foxboro, and an outdoor concert venue with more availability than Fenway would be awesome


nrvs_hbt t1_j9k033i wrote

I don't know the first thing about rugby but I went to a game last year because I live near the stadium and kept seeing signs for it everywhere, so I thought why not. I ended up having a great time! Awesome atmosphere and their mascot is ADORABLE. Overall the experience reminded me of Lowell Spinners games back in the day (RIP)

I will definitely go back again this season once the weather gets warmer!


xcaughta OP t1_j9k19v2 wrote

That's great to hear! For those who don't know, their home field is in Quincy. There's a themed festival attached to every home game, with live music, beer/bbq fests, activities for the whole family, etc.


witnessemptysky t1_j9k4gda wrote

TIL that there is major league rugby in the Boston area. This sounds pretty cool. I’m definitely going to check out a game. Thanks for sharing!


brewsandviews t1_j9lq9gj wrote

I went to my first Free Jacks game last season too and noted a similar vibe to a Lowell Spinners game! I now have season tickets and am excited to see attendance keep growing


Knowing_Bivalve t1_j9kwzht wrote

Tie it all together with multiple superbowl champ and US Olympian Nate Ebner!!


AnyRound5042 t1_j9ktltw wrote

While on not opposed to rugby, it can't compete with hockey, whos season is in full swing and the fellas are looking very good this year


xcaughta OP t1_j9ku9y6 wrote

Doesn't need to compete! I love me some B's and C's action too, since most of the games are (usually) mid afternoon on weekends, there's rarely a direct conflict. They just present another option for the regional sports connoisseur to enjoy :)


TheAVnerd t1_j9n01g4 wrote

For those that balk at the cost you can get the games on or by downloading the app.

I had a friend introduce me to Rugby about 8 years ago when he asked me to play in an old boys match for Mystic Rugby since they didn’t have enough players and I fell in love. I have a 12, 10, and 4 year old who will all be playing rugby this year. My 12 year old has been playing for 6-7 years now for Mystic River Youth Rugby. They practice and play at Pine Banks park in Melrose/Malden.

The Freejacks are a huge asset to the city and the sport. They often hold skills and drills camps for kids, which a lot of players show up to and hang out for most of the day, and they invite all the local teams to play before home matches. The community outreach and work the team does for the sport feels genuine and surpasses anything I have seen from the big 4 sports teams in town. I’m not taking a dig at this big 4, it’s more a testament to how small and close knit the rugby community is.


idtheftisnotajokej t1_j9n1y7p wrote

Thanks for doing this! I fell in love with rugby while I was living in Europe but was unfortunately not able to try (pun intended) it out. Are there any clubs around that a beginner can join to learn and play?

Also would love to watch a game and support the local team. What match are you looking forward to the most?


Yeti_Poet t1_j9nfkj0 wrote

There are plenty of clubs in the Boston area, who is best kind of depends on your background, where you live, and how serious you are looking to get once you know what you are doing. Any team can welcome new players and does it routinely, there are always a few people just learning to play on every team.

I have to plug my club, Charles River, which has both a Men's team and a Women+ team. Celebrating our 50th year of rugby this year, very successful division 3 club that is also fun and social. We play at Moakley Park in Boston (like most Boston clubs) and practice at various fields around the city through the year. South Shore is another great club. Mystic River in Malden is by far the best club in New England, the only d1 club and recent National Champions to boot. Along with that comes a very competitive and demanding environment. Boston Maccabi in Newton are a Jewish club (but obviously anyone is welcome), Boston Ironsides are a gay club (but again, all players welcome).

On the women's side, Beantown is one of the best clubs in the country, and several of its players play on the national team. If you have any other questions I'd be happy to answer.


idtheftisnotajokej t1_j9ra40s wrote

Thank you for the detailed response! Going to go through your suggestions and pick one that fits best. Best of luck for the season!


chicogrlinmass t1_j9l84an wrote

I, too, stumbled across the Free Jacks and now have season tickets. The prematch musical line up this year is stellar. Cherry Poppin Daddies. Crash Test Dummies and more. The matches are fun and people are great and will explain things to you.


dapperdave t1_j9mus7r wrote

Does rugby have the same head injury issues that football does? (I assume so, but don't know much about it)


xcaughta OP t1_j9mw1ev wrote

I believe the data shows that concussions are more common overall in rugby but less severe on average, so not sure if you want to call that comparable or not.


TheAVnerd t1_j9myppe wrote

In the past…possibly. Now, no way. Rugby takes it very very seriously. There is very strict HIA (head injury assessment) protocol in which any player deemed hit to high or near the head or any suspected head injury is removed from the field to be assessed. It’s called the Recognize and Remove protocol. There is a crew watching all the camera angles and if they see something they don’t like they will call the player off the field.

Both my kids play rugby, and have been playing for 4-6 years, and they teach proper tackle and hit techniques. They are very serious about drilling it into the kids at a young age.

Edit: for those struggling with understanding or maybe only have a basic understanding and want to learn more a famous ref Wayne Barnes has been posting YouTube videos that are spectacular:


dapperdave t1_j9nmckl wrote

Interesting. I played highschool football. No way I'll ever let my kids play something like that. I definitely sat through at least one math class with a concussion - but isn't there data that shows repeated sub-concussion injuries that cause issues too?


Yeti_Poet t1_j9rl1re wrote

There is risk of brain injury from repeated hits in rugby, the risk is not zero and part of that is sub-concussive impact. There are lawsuits taking place currently in England around the issue, but those players played in an era where there were no substitutes (even for injuries, if you lost a player you played a man down), and players just clattered into each other at a sprint in lots of parts of the game. Even once substitutes became a part of the sport, the was (and of course still is, in some places) a culture of playing through "head knocks" and other injuries.

That said, rugby really has changed a lot recently, in order to try and preserve the sport while protecting players. Revisions are still ongoing, and only time will tell how effective they are. But it's a very different attitude toward head contact and brain injury than football has, where they still routinely use their helmets to make hits and have just removed the most flagrantly unsafe things (helmet to helmet targeting).


cmcg18 t1_j9niwsw wrote

Celtics are the balls


xcaughta OP t1_j9o7ugm wrote

Hell yeah they are. And the Bruins are on pace to break the single season wins record. I've been following them both closely all season and it's been super fun to watch, the Free Jacks don't take anything away from either!

FJ went 13-3 last year and fell JUST short of the final, so all three teams have a legit shot to bring it home this year.


Trpdoc t1_j9ldjwj wrote



jm9903 t1_j9l61xr wrote



OddWar6668 t1_j9l7waw wrote

I'll watch it, right afer the WNBA game I watch


[deleted] t1_j9k0fde wrote



ijustlikebeingnosy t1_j9khisv wrote

Okay. Did you want a trophy?


[deleted] t1_j9ksllb wrote



xcaughta OP t1_j9l0o50 wrote

It's true, people tend to stick to what they're familiar with, which is fine. There are more than enough NFL fans looking for something to do in the offseason for both to coexist. Yes the viewership numbers are larger now because the XFL has the attention of the big media outlets, but let's revisit this discussion after 2031 when the USA hosts the Rugby World Cup, and the XFL is of course selling out NFL sized stadiums left and right.

What rugby presents to the average American sports viewer that XFL/USFL doesn't, is something *different.* Something I personally view (and you're welcome to disagree) as the perfect blend of all the 'big 4' sports. The players are gritty and 'hockey tough,' there's constant action/turnovers like basketball, each player on the field has responsibilities on both offense and defense, and it doesn't have the constant ad breaks that plague the American football games.

I'm not trying to pull anybody away from any of the other sports, I've simply found that people are interested in learning, they just don't know how to start. So that's the purpose of this post, is all. I hope you have a great afternoon and enjoy your XFL this weekend, sincerely!


ijustlikebeingnosy t1_j9kyk4x wrote

National television vs localized television isn’t even comparable. The fact you try to make the comparison is funny.


Yeti_Poet t1_j9m5xsu wrote

I didn't even know Boston had an XFL team.