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Top 5 rugby websites

05/15/2015, 10:15am CDT
By Loren Nelson

Soccer’s worldwide popularity can’t be denied. Football, American style, is the undisputed king of U.S. sport. 

Rugby is yet another foot-meets-ball sport with a worldwide, pardon the pun, footprint. Evidence of rugby’s growing popularity in the U.S. is abundant on the Sport Ngin platform, where dozens of top-notch sites reside.

Our latest site rankings project unveiled some gorgeous sites, many of them serving as regional or state hubs. We explored the Pacific Northwest and Northern California, dipped our toe in the Great Salt Lake, cruised around Indiana and even bumped into Superman in Metropolis.

We graded more than a dozen of the top rugby sites on the platform, assigning points in categories such as Design, Navigation, Content, Schedules and Results, History, Photos, Videos and more. The sites that rose to the top were the ones that coupled a clean, concise home page design (making for a striking first impression) with the greatest depth and variety of content.

1
Number 1

Rugby Oregon

URL: www.rugbyoregon.com

Location: Portland, Ore.

Webmaster: Jenn Heinrich


Coach page (click to view)

OVERVIEW:

Rugby Oregon was founded in 1999 and oversees youth and high school rugby in Oregon and southwest Washington. Rugby Oregon has four high school all-star teams, and its offerings also include youth non-contact and contact leagues, high school contact 7’s and 15’s leagues as wells as various academies and summer camps.


Skills & Conditioning page (click to view)

WHAT WE LIKE:

The white-and-red themed homepage makes a striking first impression. Excellent choices were made in selecting the photos for the news slideshow. Current posts are streaming into the prominently displayed Facebook widget, and news and upcoming events are updated with fresh content.


Board of Directors page (click to view)

NAVIGATION:

The four well-designed call-to-action budgets serve as a secondary navigation to the links in the banner. 

SCHEDULES/SCORES/PAST RESULTS:

Schedules, scores and standings are regularly updated for multiple age groups and divisions and combined in a singe-page format that is easy to read.

ABOUT, HISTORY, STAFF PAGES:

The About Us includes a tab element that opens with an Overview and includes History, Spirit of the Game and Diversity Statement sections. The Board of Directors page includes photos and bio information on each board member. 

DID YOU KNOW?

Rugby is played in more than 120 countries and by more than 5.5 million people, according to the Rugby Oregon site.

BONUS CONTENT:

The High School section includes a Skills & Conditioning page that has stretching instructions and videos that show skills testing, most notably the YoYo Fitness test (spoiler alert: no YoYos were harmed in the making of the video).

2
Number 2

Rugby NorCal

URL: www.rugbynorcal.org

Location: Dixon, Calif.

Webmaster: Mark Carney


Club/Map Locations page (click to view)

OVERVIEW:

Rugby NorCal was founded in 2010 in Dixon, Calif., as the Northern California Youth Rugby Association. In February the name was changed to its current Rugby NorCal. There are 88 affiliate clubs listed on the Club/Map Locations page that displays an interactive Google map.


Videos page (click to view)

WHAT WE LIKE:

The homepage design is outstanding, as is the action photography that accompanies several stories in the news aggregator. News articles flow regularly into the homepage news aggregator.

NAVIGATION:

The top navigation is limited to a manageable seven categories, and custom buttons driving viewers to more sections of the site are scattered throughout the homepage.

SCHEDULES/SCORES/PAST RESULTS:

The Schedule/Results page has schedules, results and standings for multiple divisions dating back to 2011.

ABOUT, HISTORY, STAFF PAGES:

The Overview and History page includes details about the 2010 birth of the association as well as an organizational chart for its leadership. Bio information and photos are posted for staff and board officers.

DID YOU KNOW?

Rugby NorCal’s footprint includes northern Nevada, specifically the Northern Nevada Youth Rugby Club in Reno.

BONUS CONTENT:

The Media section of the site includes a Videos page that has highlights from several games from 2014.

3
Number 3

Utah Lions Rugby

URL: www.utahlionsrugby.com

Location: West Jordan, Utah

Webmaster: Michael Cressler


Information page (click to view)

OVERVIEW:

The club is based in the Salt Lake City area, and the Lions are an invitation-only team that attracts top athletes looking to advance to national, international or Olympic levels.


Athlete Listing page (click to view)

WHAT WE LIKE:

The variety of content on the homepage, including a welcome message, upcoming events and Twitter widget. There are also surprise pieces of interesting content sprinkled throughout several sections. The Information page, as an example, explains “What Does It Mean To Be A Lion.”

NAVIGATION:

The top navigation bar isn’t overstuffed with categories – it’s limited to a manageable seven. 

SCHEDULES/SCORES/PAST RESULTS:

The Lions Boys U18 Elite section has a game schedule, scores, a roster with complete player information and headshots. Player statistics also have been loaded.

ABOUT, HISTORY, STAFF PAGES:

The Information page details the origin and philosophy of the club. The Coaching Staff page has bio information on the U18 Elite and U18 Select coaches.

DID YOU KNOW?

Center Matt Larson, a senior 6-foot-3, 210-pound senior at Bingham High School, has committed to Brigham Young University.

BONUS CONTENT:

The Recruiting Videos page has four videos showing highlights from selected games.

4
Number 4

Metropolis Rugby

URL: www.metropolisrugby.com

Location: Minneapolis

Webmaster: Justin Swartz


Hall of Fame page (click to view)

OVERVIEW:

The club’s origins can be traced to the 1992 merger of the Minneapolis Rugby Football Club, founded in 1960, and the Metro Rugby Football Club, founded in 1980. Metropolis RFC has men’s national Division I and Division II squads.


Old Boys page (click to view)

WHAT WE LIKE:

The background and banner design, which features two players rising out of the turf and above the Minneapolis skyline. The casual, fun theme of the club that is carried out throughout the site. You won’t find many sites that use a Superman image (this is Metropolis, after all) to accompany an announcement about an upcoming board meeting. 

NAVIGATION:

There’s probably a few too many options in the jammed top navigation. The call-to-action navigation buttons in the right column are designed well and hard to miss.

SCHEDULES/SCORES/PAST RESULTS:

League standings are listed, as are historical results – dating to 2011 – for the Division I, Division II and 3rd Side squads.

ABOUT, HISTORY, STAFF PAGES:

The About Us page provides a historical account of the 1992 merger that created the current club and provides information on some of its success at the regional and national levels. Current board members are listed in a table, and photos of the club’s coaches displayed in the site’s Men of Steel section. 

DID YOU KNOW?

Sport Ngin sales representative Jamey Kohlbeck is the club’s athletic director and a coach.

BONUS CONTENT:

The Hall of Fame section includes the passionate, moving transcript from Thor Bolstad’s induction speech. Complete bios are posted on Bolstad and the five other Hall of Fame members.

5
Number 5

Rugby Indiana

URL: www.rugbyindiana.com

Location: Indianapolis

Webmaster: Michelle Leroux


What is Rugby page (click to view)

OVERVIEW:

Youth rugby got its start in Indiana in 1990 with four teams of high-school aged players from the Indianapolis area. The Indiana Youth Rugby Foundation was born in 2000 and has since expanded to 78 teams from throughout the state. Rugby Indiana reports that its competitive leagues have shown continued growth at a rate of 10 percent each year.


Sponsors page (click to view)

WHAT WE LIKE:

The site features another excellent homepage design, making for a great first impression. Content is packaged neatly and limited to just a handful of varieties, making for an easy-to-consume homepage. The package of three videos at the bottom of the homepage is unique in comparison to the other sites in this category.

NAVIGATION:

There’s plenty of room to breathe between links in the top navigation, which is limited to eight categories. The scrolling scoreboard just below the top navigation offers a quick way to dive into specific games. 

SCHEDULES/SCORES/PAST RESULTS:

Schedules, scores and roster information are update for several of the teams housed on the site. Individual player stats are even available for some teams.

ABOUT, HISTORY, STAFF PAGES:

The well-constructed About page includes sections titled Mission Statement, History and Spirit of Rugby. Listings for Administration, Board of Directors, Committees and Team Contacts are in tabs on the Contacts page.

DID YOU KNOW?

According to the What is Rugby? page, rugby is the second most popular sport in the world behind soccer.

BONUS CONTENT:

The Rugby Indiana In Media page features a table that has links to more than a dozen stories about Indiana rugby.

 

Honorable Mention

Here are more outstanding sites that were in the final judging mix but didn't crack the Top 5.

 

Wondering why your site didn't make the list? Want to put your site in the Top 5? Contact loren.nelson@sportngin.com for a free consultation.

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