Rugby tournament moved from Wayne due to large numbers

Halleigh Hawkins, Reporter

It is the first time in history since the Battle on the Nebraska Prairie Rugby Tournament began that the tournament will be held in South Sioux City, Nebraska April 6th and 7th. This new location is due to the high volume of teams that are set to participate in the tournament and not enough room in Wayne to be able to adequately host the large number of teams.

“The tournament has gotten so big that many teams have to stay out of town,” said Darren Barner, women’s head rugby coach. “And when you have teams coming from Michigan and Indiana, it is hard to welcome them by telling them they have to stay in Norfolk.”

One event that brings teams to this tournament is the social event that normally takes place on Saturday night after day one of the tournament is over at Riley’s Dance Hall in Wayne. It was their own promotion to put on a concert and toga party for college aged students, but since Riley’s was torn down quite recently, there are not many entertainment options in town on Saturday night that are large enough to accommodate for all of the team members.

“Since 2002, teams have come accustomed to a really good entertaining concert in Wayne during the tournament,” Barner said.

“I’m looking forward to competing again since we had a couple months off,” freshman rugby player Kennedy Jones said. “Since we only have two practices a week we really work hard physically and mentally to be ready for our competition. I think a main thing we all talk about is that sevens season is definitely better competition and that we’re going to have to bring our A game when we are out there competing.”

Wayne just was not big enough to accompany over 90 plus teams that travel here as far away as Virginia to come and play in this tournament. Teams from 15 different states and even some Canadian teams that travel to play in this tournament. And it is the second largest rugby tournament in the US.

But as for the future, Barner stated that he is looking to host the United States High School Championships sometime in the future.

“I think Wayne could do an excellent job at hosting an event for high school players, parents, family and friends,” Barren said.

As for now, South Sioux will be hosting the Battle on the Nebraska Rugby Tournament with most of the events still taking place. There will be a dance party Saturday night just as there always has been in the past, and it will also be toga themed with lights and beverages. The new accommodations along with some of the past traditions and the high volume of tough competition has many of the Wayne State rugby players excited to see what will come of the tournament.