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State Department, British Embassy to 'Try Rugby'

A member of the New Zealand ambassador's XV rugby team, in white, runs from defenders from the Combined Services Rugby Team, composed of players from branches of the U.S. military, during a match in Washington in 2012 . (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The British Embassy and the State Department are playing each other in a rugby match on Wednesday. Celebrating the launch of “Try Rugby USA,” the two offices are competing in a touch rugby game, open to any spectators.  

The match will take place at 12:30 p.m. on Georgetown University’s Cooper Field. On the U.K. team is former Washington Redskins linebacker Ken Harvey, as well as embassy staff and British defense staff. The coaches are British rugby coach Tosh Askew, Rugby Union player for London Irish, Nic Rouse, and head coach of the University of Bath Women’s rugby team, Caryl Thomas.  

The coach for the U.S. team is James Walker, founder of the Tiger Rugby program. Whitney Stowell, president of the club rugby team Washington Irish RFC, and Chris Howard, a Tiger Rugby coach, will play. State Department staffers will also participate.  

“Try Rugby” started in 2011 and this is the official launch of the campaign in the U.S. It is focused on youth development and community outreach through rugby in the U.S.  

According to the British Council, rugby is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. and has been an Olympic sport since 1924. The British Council is also hosting “Try Rugby USA” events in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Texas.  

“We have pioneered our community rugby programs in Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, and South Africa and it is a sheer pleasure to be growing awareness of this great sport, which was first played in the UK, in the USA, a country which already knows a thing or two about this wonderful sibling of football,” British Council USA Director Paul Smith said in a news release.  

Contact Gangitano at AlexGangitano@cqrollcall.com and follow her on Twitter at @AlexGangitano .

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