FAIRFIELD — Rough-and-tumble scrums mixed with socializing and fun Sunday afternoon when the Fairfield Rugby Club hosted a youth tournament for 22 teams from throughout the tri-state area at Veterans Park.

Both boys and girls, up to age 14, competed in what is reputedly the fastest growing sport in the United States.

“Rugby is the greatest game in the world,” said Alastair Crawford, director of the fall youth program for the club, which also runs both the boys and girls high school teams, as well as adults for both men and women.

“We encourage girl players all the way through,” he said.

“It’s a family,” he said, noting it’s also a very social sport. “It’s unlike any other sport.”

“It’s also about sportsmanship, etiquette and manners,” Crawford said. And while on the field the play is physical and sometimes intense, off the field a sense of community and friendship is strongly stressed, with inter-league spirit emphasized as soon as the whistle is blown.

“There’s a real strong culture of camaraderie in the sport,” said Coach Jason O’Brien, also noting that rugby, ironically, is much safer than American tackle football.

He also stressed that it was inclusive, with a wide range of nationalities represented in the league.

“Young boys and girls of all shapes and sizes come out and play together,” he said, with one’s sheer size never the deciding factor in whether or not one will be success on the field.

People can learn more about the club through its website www.fairfieldrugby.org/.