BILLINGS – Rugby’s Black Mambas high school girls won their season opener Saturday 41-17 over Helena.

Summer Samsel connected on a pair of tries and three conversions kicks to lead the way for Billings. The Black Mambas are part of the Yellowstone Youth Rugby squad, which also includes the Rimrock Rattlesnake boys club team.

Each squad continues to encourage new players to join. Girls head coach Cyrena Canfield has her veteran players teaching the newcomers.

“It’s just amazing improvement,” she said. “We’re putting them in positions where they’re teaching the new girls, and they’re helping us out. So, the development phase from year one to year three is twice as quick.”

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Newcomer Ayiana Boggs understands why some may be concerned about the physicality of rugby.

“I think the scary thing for them is tackling people,” she said, “especially because it’s not like football where you have a lot of protection. You learn how to hit and how to get hit, so it’s not that scary.”

Canfield hopes to put newcomers at ease who may be intimidated by learning rules.

“I played 20 years and I still don’t know the ins and outs.”