42 rugby teams from 5 provinces compete in Rothesay at RugbyFest

High school rugby teams from five provinces will compete at Rothesay Netherwood School today during the 28th annual RugbyFest weekend, which will feature a new rugby sevens division.

28th annual tournament will feature a new rugby sevens division

RugbyFest will be held Friday afternoon through Sunday at Rothesay Netherwood School. (Rothesay Netherwood School)

High school rugby teams from five provinces will compete at Rothesay Netherwood School today during the 28th annual RugbyFest weekend, which will feature a new rugby sevens division.

Sevens is a much faster-paced game, said Geoffrey McCullogh, athletic director at RNS, and RugbyFest organizer.

Seven players per team play seven-minute halves instead of the usual 15 players playing 40-minute halves.

"The Olympics opened it last year as an exhibition sport [and] it sort of caught on a little bit with New Brunswick, and so we thought it would be a great opportunity for us to showcase the sevens with the other … teams that are here to just see what it's like," said McCullogh.

It's a "much more wide open game and more scoring," he said. And because there are fewer athletes on the pitch, there are fewer collisions.

Forty-two boys and girls teams from schools across New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Ontario are participating in the tournament.

"It's a wonderful experience — something you have to attend to understand it," said McCullogh.

Teachers and students volunteer at the event, proud to "show off" the school, he said, and it's a "big boost" for the economy, with athletes, coaches and others eating at restaurants and staying at hotels in Saint John and the Kennebecasis Valley.

Round-robin play begins at 1 p.m. today. Championship games will be begin at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.

All games will be held on the school's five playing fields on campus.

With files from Information Morning Saint John