EAST AURORA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Athletes competing in the 2022 Atlantic Super Regional Rugby Fest will take to the field in East Aurora this weekend.

The multi-state rugby tournament runs from Saturday to Sunday, beginning both days at 10 a.m. at Knox Farm State Park.

The top 24 men’s and women’s teams, including Buffalo Rugby Club, from four different “geographic unions” that make up USA Rugby’s Atlantic North and Mid-Atlantic competitive regions will go head to head.

Rugby athletes from Norfolk, Va. will be in attendance, joined by competitors from cities including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.

Western New York high school student-athletes will also get a chance to compete in two showcase matches. Students from Hamburg and Kenmore girls’ teams play on Saturday, and the Canisius High School and Kenmore boys’ teams on Sunday.

New York State Assembly Members Bill Conrad and Jon Rivera announced the tournament Thursday.

Conrad played for the Buffalo Rugby Club from 2005 to 2015 and is a founder, and youth coach, of the Kenmore Rugby Club. In addition, he went into the Buffalo Rugby Wall of Fame in February 2022.

Rivera, who represents the 149th Assembly District which includes the Buffalo Rugby Club Field in Delaware Park, is chair of the Subcommittee on Regional Tourism Development. Conrad also served on the subcommittee.

“We’re excited, it’s a great opportunity to play at such a high level in front of all our friends and family, and just the whole Western New York community,” Mike Lang, captain, Buffalo Rugby Club.

“One of the secrets of Western New York is we actually have the highest per capita membership of rugby players. We’re actually quite a hotbed here, from high school girls, youth flag, all the way up to men’s club and women’s club,” Assembly Member Conrad said. “So for us, it shows that we are demonstrating that rugby has a footprint here, it’s a great economic boom.”

Watch our full interview with Assembly Member Bill Conrad, Buffalo Rugby Club President Jeff Qualey and Club Captain Mike Lang in the video player above.

Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here.