Watch CBS News

Miami Sharks bring professional rugby to South Florida

Professional rugby is coming to Miami
Professional rugby is coming to Miami 02:44

MIAMI — There's a new sports franchise coming to South Florida this spring: Professional rugby.

The Miami Sharks will represent this season. CBS Sports Miami's Trish Christakis introduces us to this new team ready to play one of the world's oldest team sports.

Rugby is one of the oldest sports, but not many people here in South Florida know the game. To these athletes, it's pretty simple. 

"Fifteen players versus 15 players. Just beating each other up really. Pretty much. Big tackles, said Kirby Perego Myhill, Miami Sharks player. "It's a physical game."

Miami Sharks Head Coach Jose Pellicena says it's an honor to lead and develop the first professional rugby team here in South Florida.

"We have a good balance between senior and younger players," he said.

Rick Rose grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, with a love for rugby as his dad played. This is his first professional gig. 

"Some of these guys have been playing at the international level, professional overseas, They just have so much information," he said. "For me, it's just time to be a sponge."

At the base level, it's a mix between football and soccer — but without pads or helmets. Veteran player Perego Myhill says you have to be tough to play.

"There's some softies in there trust me. They are not all big and tough. Some of the big ones are the softies," he said. "Yeah, I suppose you have to be tough to pay to play this game. Like you said, we don't have pads, we don't have helmets. So one day if I get knocked out."

"Anyone on the field, no matter how big or how small, they've all got to do the same running and the same hitting for the most part," Rose added. "So no matter how strong how big you are, you got to be an athlete enough to run long-distance short, sprints you know, it's the full breadth of athleticism at stake here"

This is a new team they've been playing together for about five weeks now, and they say they're playing better together after each practice. A new sport to the area, but they're hopeful it continues to grow. 

"We have foreigners who have just loads of experience come in and teach the young Americans and teach the experienced Americans just how to step up the game. You know, it's in a building state now, but we got the passion, the drive to really step it up in the next few years," Rose said.

The Sharks will open up their inaugural season on Sunday, March 3 in Fort Lauderdale at 5 p.m. at AutoNation Sports Field, right across from Inter Miami's Chase Stadium.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.