In women’s rugby, ‘someone’s always bleeding’

Posted April 24, 2012, at 3:53 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Patty Williams held her seven-month-old son Patrick while watching from the sidelines as her teammates competed in a rugby match against Boston. No one would have blamed her if she decided to take the season off. Rugby, after all, is a physically demanding and sometimes brutal sport. But when it was time for substitutions, Williams handed the boy over to his father and charged out onto the field.

“I couldn’t imagine a Saturday without rugby,” she said after the game.

Williams plays for the Portland Women’s Rugby Football Club, a team made up of players ranging in age from 17 to 35. Last Saturday they played two games against teams from Massachusetts.

Rugby is for “girls who crave a contact sport, something physical,” said Brittney Braasch, the team’s president. “Someone’s always bleeding.”

On several occasions the rough play caused tempers to flare between the teams. But at the final whistle the teams lined up to exchange high-fives. Later they shared pizza and beverages.

“What happens on the field, stays on the field,” Braasch said.