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William Lardner of Milan tackles Enyo DeWith during Quad City Irish’s rugby practice in Centennial Park Sept. 23 in Davenport.
Greg Moroni, third from the top, and his fellow Quad City Irish players scrum during practice at Centennial Park on Sept. 23 in Davenport.
Dan Conway tosses the ball during Quad City Irish’s practice at Centennial Park Monday, Sept. 23, 2019, in Davenport.
Greg Moroni, center, and his fellow Quad City Irish players scrum during practice at Centennial Park Monday, Sept. 23, 2019, in Davenport.
ROCK ISLAND — Greg Moroni has a permanent hitch in his giddy-up. He is in his 60s and has been surgically repaired a number of times.
Moroni is not a candidate for game action. Yet, when you mention the sport of rugby, his eyes brighten, his chin and chest push outward and a "If I can pop'em, I can stop 'em'' smile rolls across his face.
"It's a natural reaction for those who have played,'' Moroni says of the sport, making a local comeback locally with the rebirth - after a five-year hiatus - of the Quad City Irish Rugby Club.
"It is a worldwide sport, a great sport, but continues to transition and find footing in the United States,'' added Moroni. He is a 1972 graduate of Rock Island High School and a 1976 graduate of Luther College, where he played football and wrestled. He switched to rugby after graduation. "It's time we took a big step forward locally and nationally.''