Youth rugby is growing at a steady rate as the Westshore club announces scholarships for graduating players. (Westshore rugby club)

Youth rugby is growing at a steady rate as the Westshore club announces scholarships for graduating players. (Westshore rugby club)

Scholarships reward rugby players

Westshore club supports its players

The Westshore Rugby Club hosted its junior banquet at the beginning of December, and the event gave them the opportunity to announce the latest initiative to promote the game on the West Shore.

Beginning in September, the club will be awarding $500 scholarships to eight of their graduating players who will be attending either Camosun College or the University of Victoria.

“We thought it was important for us to support our players by supporting their education. We’re very much a family, and that’s just what we do,” said Clay Panga, executive director of the Westshore Rugby Football Club.

Rugby has come a long way from the days, in 1968, when a breakaway group of players form the James Bay Athletic Association decided they were looking for a more dynamic form of the game than that favoured by the James Bay team at the time.

In 2015 the teams that resulted from that split, Velox, moved to the West Shore as part of a deal that saw the Juan de Fuca velodrome converted to artificial turf and made available to the Westshore Rugby Football Club. They also got access to natural grass fields in the community, and the table was set for a bright future.

It didn’t hurt, either, that Rugby Canada’s Centre for Excellence, home to the Canadian National men’s and women’s teams, were located in Langford at the Westhills Stadium and Goudy Field.

But the true future of the game lies in the young people who are increasingly becoming enamoured with the tough, fast moving, and, to some, totally incomprehensible, game.

“We’ve had great involvement from the school system and just in general from young people coming out and wanting to learn about the game and become part of this great movement,” Panga said.

“Our numbers have grown at a consistent 15 per cent a year and that growth is very strong.”

Panga explained that the club fields teams in junior U14 to U18 divisions and, in total, those teams amount to about 60 players.

“We’re going to continue to grow and further our involvement in the community because of the way we approach the game. It’s more than just a sport for us, it’s a community that fosters camaraderie and friendships that last a lifetime. And with the national teams here, it’s also for these young people to be inspired when they go down and see the best in the country hard at work, perfecting their game.”

Panga said what the club needs now, in addition to the ever increasing number of players, is volunteers who are willing to help out with the teams.

He said that the club and Rugby Canada is committed to a continuing presence on the West Shore and the support of young players who opt to make rugby their sport of choice.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

Co-creatorsAdrianna Hatton and Malcolm McKenzie stand next to the little free library revealed Sunday at 9710 First St. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Literary crowd helps opens little free library in Sidney

Located at 9710 First St., the book sharing box features original art and reclaimed wood

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read