Have You Seen This? World’s largest rugby scrum honors Springville girl with cancer

Sep 20, 2023, 6:31 AM | Updated: Oct 23, 2023, 12:16 pm

Nearly 3,000 people linked arms and locked up to form the world's largest scrum in honor of a 6-yea...

LOCKING ARMS — The world’s largest rugby scrum took place on Utah soil over the weekend, and nearly 3,000 rugby fans celebrated a 6-year-old cancer survivor at its center.

Guinness World Records will soon verify the largest rugby scrum of 2,938 participants, breaking the previous record of 2,586 people set by a young entrepreneur group in Japan in 2018, according to a news release from The Rugby Alliance that hosted the event.

According to World Rugby, the scrum is defined as the restart of play following a stoppage caused by a minor infringement of the law. In 15-sided matches, eight players lock arms against the other team, at which point the ball is thrown into the middle of the “tunnel” between the two front rows and the two hookers attempt to hook the ball back in the direction of their teammates.

It was a portion of the crowd that signed up to contest the record after the USA Eagles’ men’s national team rallied past French power Stade Toulousain 24-21 Saturday night at America First Field in Sandy, the first-ever such match on Utah soil.

Funds raised through participation in the scrum will benefit Hadlee, a 6-year-old girl from Springville who has brain cancer, and her family on a dream trip to Disneyworld, according to Make-A-Wish Utah.

“Hosting the world’s most successful rugby team, Stade Toulousain, against our beloved U.S. national team right here in Utah’s backyard is an experience that I personally will never forget,” said Kimball Kjar, CEO of the Utah Warriors and co-founder of The Rugby Alliance. “And then to witness the U.S. men’s team pull off an upset by holding Toulouse out of the end zone at the death was nothing shy of amazing.”

But that wasn’t the best part of the night, continued Kjar, a longtime backer of rugby in the state.

“As exciting as that was, the most fulfilling moment was to see Hadlee’s wish granted by our community by coming together in support of this amazing girl,” said Kjar, who played and coached at BYU. “We’re grateful for everyone who came out to make this such a memorable night for Hadlee, for Utah, and for the sport of rugby for generations to come.”

The post-match classic also drew a reaction from the national governing body sponsoring the sport.

“Saturday night was a brilliant experience for our rugby community and the fans of Utah,” USA Rugby CEO Ross Young said in a statement. “Seeing a strong crowd in attendance all getting behind our team and supporting them to a heart-pumping win was exactly what makes rugby so exciting. A major thank you to our hosts, Utah Warriors. The energy and hospitality at America First Field was superb and we very much look forward to returning in the future.”

Related: New RSL pin will help raise money for breast cancer research



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Have You Seen This? World’s largest rugby scrum honors Springville girl with cancer