Rugby: Scrumming soon to a field near you

High school students will get a chance to play

Sharon Tiffin photo High school rugby

High school students will get a chance to play

Efforts made in the game of rugby over the past couple of years at the middle school level can now be continued at Edward Milne Community School.

This news was music to the ears of young athletes, especially the ones making the jump to EMCS.

The robust sport will be guided by a group including Matt Mortenson and Ross Leadbetter.

The plan to give rugby a toehold in the higher grades was alive and well at the time the subject was broached in these pages a couple of weeks ago, but Mortenson said he wanted to have a good turnout to work with before making the news official.

As of this past Saturday, as it happens, there is commitment from 20 athletes and that’s close enough to the 22 required for a program.

“If we have to bring up a couple of grade 8s to fill things out, then so be it,” said Mortenson, adding that there has also been strong interest from about 17 girls who learned the game at Journey Middle School. The only catch there is the limited available competition for a girls’ squad. Mortenson said, however, that all avenues would be explored in the hope of having a girls’ rugby presence at EMCS as well.

Mortenson, with a strong affiliation with local football, will be well-known to many.

He says the two sports compliment each other very well.

“If anything,” he mused, “rugby may be even a little more demanding than football because of its non-stop nature.”

The new team will have stiff competition from squads fielded by St. Michael’s University School, Claremont and Oak Bay. The season schedule will be six games and get started right after spring break.

Field training is set to start on February 3.

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