Chapel Hill is a rugby hotbed, at least on the youth level. The Highlanders Rugby Club of Chapel Hill is a five-time high school state champion.
But, until very recently, there was no team for adults who crave the hard-won camaraderie the demanding sport inspires.
Enter the Chapel Hill Warriors, our town’s first men’s rugby team. It’s seeking more players, fans and sponsors as it prepares for its first tournament March 9-10.
Drew Zabor is an East Chapel Hill High graduate who played for the Highlanders and through his four years at Appalachian State University. He moved back to Chapel Hill in the fall and found that rugby players had to go to Durham or Raleigh to play in an organized league. He worked with coach Robert King and other players to form the Warriors.
Rugby’s the kind of sport that gets under your skin, Zabor confirms.
“Because of the physical nature of it and the fact that it truly is a team sport, it really just brings you together and bands you as brothers,” he says.
He says he has no closer friends than those he’s played with on the paddock.
And then there’s the time spent off the field, which may or may not involve a pint in hand. One of the team’s first sponsors was Kildare’s Irish Pub on Franklin St., and the 20 or so teammates have made that their “go-to spot.”
“It’s just a lot of fun,” Zabor says.