Commentary

Seamus gives the pitch for rugby

Updated: April 22, 2009, 1:07 PM ET
By Dylan Kitts | Special to ESPNRISE.com

Each weekday, ESPN RISE brings you five vital stats from athletes across the country.

[+] EnlargeSeamus Kelly
Courtesy of Greg VoigtSeamus Kelly and the Xavier rugby team is undefeated heading into the Northeast Championship.

At Xavier High School (New York City), senior Seamus Kelly is best known for his stardom on the gridiron. His 2009 Catholic High School Football League-leading 2,681 rushing yards and 42 touchdowns in 11 games catapulted the Knights to an 8-3 record and the AA-A regular season crown. Some of his fans might not know that "Famous Seamus" is also a star on the rugby team, which The High School Rugger preseason No. 2 team in the country and is undefeated heading into the league championship. The California-Berkeley recruit tells us five reasons to play rugby.

1. It prepares you for football
"Everybody thinks it's so similar to football but it's not. I think it does prepare you for playing football with mental toughness and the fitness aspect, which is often overlooked."

2. It is a great sport
"Americans would love it if it had a lot more exposure. It's so intense; it's fast. I don't know what there's not to like about it for an American audience."

3. You get to travel
"You go around the world with rugby, which you can't do with football. You can travel, have foreign experiences, and play foreign teams."

4. The culture
"It's a different culture. You hate another team on the field, like Greenwich, and you want to beat up on them during the game. But after the game, all of the kids know each other from other teams so they'd give us food and we'd give them food. We had heroes for them the other day. So it's like camaraderie between the two teams. Even if we kill each other for 80 minutes on the field, after the game we're all friends again."

5. The ultimate team game
"There are 15 guys on the field, which is a lot more than football. Everybody has to know what everyone's job is and what everyone's purpose is because they can be anywhere on the field at any time. It teaches you to be a team player, because if you're totally on your own in rugby than you're not going to be successful."

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