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Rugby Improves Fitness, Education at Valley Schools | News

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Rugby Improves Fitness, Education at Valley Schools

LAS VEGAS - The field at Herbert A. Derfelt Elementary School usually hosts football and soccer games. These days, you'll see rugby in these parts.

"The kids, they're just wholeheartedly in 110 percent. It's made a difference in the climate around school," said fourth grade teacher Chris Leffler.

"Everybody can get the ball. It doesn't matter how fast you are. You just have to pull the flags and have fun," said fourth grader Savannah Burke.

Like Savannah, fourth grader Michael Carroll has plenty of fun with rugby. He recently took up the sport.

"Just about a year or so," he said.

"I like to call it the most American sport most Americans don't know... NFL football came directly out of rugby," said USA Sevens Rugby Competition Manager Jon Hinkin. "When we came to Las Vegas three years ago, (we brought) culture of each individual country."

When the national team visits students next week, each grade will show off what they've learned about their adopted nation. At Derfelt, it's New Zealand.

Michael says he learned New Zealand has an abundance of beautiful mountains and snow.

"You've got to research them. You know a little bit about them," added Savannah.

USA Sevens officials say since the league moved to Las Vegas, youth rugby clubs have grown from zero to 48. At schools like Derfelt, the game has helped build better all-around kids.

"Getting along, they've got to figure it out," said Leffler.

The USA Sevens begins Friday, February 8th. The first match takes place at Sam Boyd Stadium at 4 p.m. The finals take place Sunday, February 10th.

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