Few may know, but Manteca is home to its own rugby club, the Harlot Rugby Club.
The team was originally founded in Modesto in 1974 but moved to Manteca for more exposure. It has players from all over the valley.
This Saturday, June 11, the Harlot Rugby Club will host the NorCal sevens qualifier. It will take place at Northgate Park starting at 8 a.m. It will involve eight men’s elite teams, four women’s elite teams, and seven teams in the men’s open.
“Sevens” means each team has seven players on the field. This is the type of rugby that will be played in the Olympics this year. The Harlot Rugby Club, on the other hand, plays rugby matches with 15 players on each team. They have had success hosting a tournament and have been asked to do it again.
Manteca’s home team may not be taking part in this week’s competition, but they have a long history of success. They play in the Northern California Rugby Football Union Division 3 and are currently ranked third. In previous years, the Harlot Rugby Club has captured seven division titles, three Pacific Coast titles, and finished second nationally.
One member of the team, Brad Franks, is hoping to spread awareness of his sport. He has been playing with the Harlot Rugby Club for three years. Franks’ best friend introduced him to the sport, and Franks was hooked after one practice. Franks says rugby is growing in popularity because of the excitement of the games.
“Rugby is like the NFL without pads” he said.
His favorite part of playing rugby is the comradery and trust between teammates. Franks considers his teammates to be family.
Franks is encouraged by the growing number of youth leagues and players that are building the sport of rugby. The Harlot Rugby Club itself is working to bring new players to the sport. Anyone interested can visit the Harlot Rugby Club Facebook page or contact franks at email@example.com.
Teams competing on Saturday are:
MEN’S ELITE: San Francisco Golden Gate, San Jose, Diablo Gaels, Life West, Olympic Club, EPA Razorbacks, Silicon Valley, Sac Lions
WOMEN’S ELITE: San Francisco Golden Gate, San Jose, Berkeley All Blues, Life West
MEN’S OPEN: San Francisco Golden Gate B, San Jose B, Colusa, Reno, Google, Sac Capitols, Aptos