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The U.S. National Rugby Team Will Play at UCLA Today in a World Cup Warmup

March 15, 1987

The United States will participate in the first World Cup of Rugby to be held this spring in Australia and New Zealand.

The 16-nation tournament will be played in Sydney and Auckland from mid-May to mid-June. The national teams from all of the top rugby-playing countries in the world--with the exception of South Africa--will take part.

The teams have been divided into four groups of four teams each. The United States will play the other three teams in its group--England, Australia and Japan--in the first round.

The U.S. team, known as the Eagles, will play three preliminary games before departing for Australia.

The first of these games will be played today at 11:30 a.m. at North Field on the UCLA campus. The Eagles will play the Griffins, a Southern California Rugby Football Union all-star team.

The SCRFU, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, will field a team that includes former Michigan quarterback Bob Timberlake.

Rugby is one of the forerunners of football and is similar in some respects. There are 15 players on a team and each game is divided into two 40-minute halves. Players, who wear no pads or helmets, can pass, carry, or dribble the ball with their feet, and the action only stops when the ball is out of bounds.

The United States Rugby Football Union has more than 2,000 teams and an estimated 100,000 players nationwide. The national team, the Eagles, is chosen from among the best of these players.

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