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Montana's oldest women's rugby team still going strong

The Betterside Women’s Rugby Team is the oldest women’s team in Montana
Betterside Women's Rugby players warming up under a rainbow, Missoula
Posted at 4:53 PM, Apr 10, 2024

MISSOULA — A lot of people know that Maggotfest in Missoula brings in thousands of rugby players from across the United States but many people don’t know there is a team with a deep-rooted history in Missoula.

The Betterside Women’s Rugby Team is the oldest women’s team in Montana. It was formed in 1976 at the same time as their male counterparts the Missoula Maggots.

The team’s coach Sakai Schmidt says despite its long history there have been years when it was difficult to put a team together.

“We’re one of the oldest women’s teams in the country, which is cool forming in 1976 but a lot of our struggles come from being so geographically landlocked,” Schmidt said.

“We’re one of the only women’s teams in the state, which is hard as you can probably imagine.”

Missoula Rugby Team

Betterside addressed their lack of representation by promoting players from the UM Women’s Rugby Team, which gives them a chance to put in full reps as a team.

One of the players who joined from UM’s team was Rachel Porter whose background in softball and basketball attracted her to the sport.

“I played a lot of sports but this one I always wanted to but never got the chance to until I got to college,” Porter said. “And I had the time to and I again think the intensity and physicality of it is what gets me going, the adrenaline.”

However, for Porter, the sport’s intense action is a small part of why she enjoys playing.

“The biggest thing for me that I found coming to rugby, besides just the sport, is the community,” Porter said. “It’s a great group of people we have a social afterward where you get to know other teams and it makes you really feel like you’re a part of something.”

The Betterside Women’s Rugby Team’s next match will be played on Saturday, April 13, 2024, in Spokane. The team's next games in Missoula will be during Maggotfest which runs from May 16 until Ma-19.