RUGBY IS ON the rise in Northern California, and that couldn’t be any truer than in Marin. For more than 40 years, the Marin Highlanders have not only introduced rugby to Marin youth, but have also set them on a path to success that produced multiple college All-Americans and the opportunity to play for the USA National team. The brainchild of Redwood High School students and brothers Kerry and Patrick Farley, the original club was only big enough to field one team in 1980. Fast-forward four decades and the Highlanders
are now a nonprofit with a dedicated volunteer board and a group of professional coaches with international experience,
helmed by head coach Eóin O’ Toole. Originally from Ireland, O’ Toole started playing rugby at age 7 and has championed
it ever since. With rugby rejoining the Summer Games after an absence of more than 90 years and the Rugby World Cup
Sevens coming to AT&T Park in July, the club is more than ready for the next wave of interest in the sport.
What type of person is drawn to the sport? People who are looking to be fit and have a whole lot of fun. Rugby is known for
its camaraderie and the lifetime friendships that are born out it. The club itself was built on the idea of inclusion, which
was an early emphasis of the Farley brothers when they founded the club. The original team featured soccer and football
players, as well as students who were interested in sport but not in the traditional options available at the high school
level. Today, the Marin Highlanders are proactively outreaching across the county to youth who like contact sports,
TIME TO SCRAMBLE
With rugby coming to San Francisco and set to reenter the international stage
in the Summer Games, the sport has never been more popular here in Marin.
BY STEPHANIE KEEFE MARTIN • PHOTOS BY TONY GEORGE