Penn Hills club team to get up-close look at professional rugby

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Saturday, July 15, 2023 | 11:01 AM


The Penn Hills club rugby team has been steadily building its reputation since the program’s inaugural season following the pandemic. Coach Matt Rosemeyer has been looking to help grow the program by encouraging his players to keep involved in the sport.

Many members of the Big Red team will be involved with the Premiere Rugby Sevens league, which will hold its Eastern Conference Finals on July 23 at Highmark Stadium. The winners will play in the PR7s Championship on May 6 in Washington D.C.

Members of the current high school Big Red program will help out at the event.

“The Big Red Rugby team will have a long day at the stadium and be exposed to everything that goes into a professional sports competition,” Rosemeyer said. “Everything from setting up locker rooms and the playing field, halftime entertainment, broadcast, team warmups, meals, recovery, strategy and the army of people needed to create such an event.”

There will be eight professional men’s and women’s teams competing at the event. Rugby Sevens is a form of rugby union in which teams of seven players play seven-minute halves. Typically, rugby is played with 15 players a side and 40-minute halves.

Sevens is faster paced and provides a lot of action with more room on the field for players to operate.

Scout Cheeks, who is a North Hills graduate, is on the Headliners team. The Headliners are second in the Eastern Conference standings with a 2-1 record. Woodland Hills graduate Tyrone Lyons is in the league’s player pool and played for the Pittsburgh Forge Rugby Club. Misha Shorrin, who plays for Pittsburgh Forge RFC, competes for the PR7s expansion side, the Pittsburgh Steeltoes.

Penn Hills completed its first varsity season playing 15-a-side rugby last season by putting together a 1-4 record. Penn Hills had previously primarily played Sevens due to not having enough players to play with a full squad.

Rosemeyer is excited for everyone involved to enjoy the large event.

“The Penn Hills team will be helping out with the competition as ball runners and in other areas alongside the league staff,” Rosemeyer said. “The experience will allow the high school players to see some of the top athletes in the sport from around the world.”

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