New Contributing Member – Mark Wyatt

Mark WyattWe are pleased to announce Mark Wyatt as one of our Contributing Members. Mark represented Canada 29 times from 1982 to 1991 including two World Cups. He was inducted into the BC Rugby Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.  Currently owner and C.E.O. of Capital City Fire and Brewis Electric and President of Westshore R.F.C. Mark now  runs up and down canyons with Claire for fun ‎and hits a long drive and a short putt.

UBC Win Inaugural Canadian Men’s University XVs Championship

The inaugural Canadian Men’s University XVs Championship took place November 16-19, 2017 at the University of Guelph. The Canadian Rugby Foundation provided a grant to finance the tournament as part of its platform for developing Canadian grassroots rugby. The tournament included six teams, two from BC (UVic and UBC), two from Ontario (Guelph and McMaster), one from Quebec (Concordia) and one from the Maritimes (UPEI).

The University of British Columbia (UBC) won the tournament with a 37-12 win over the University of Victoria (UVic). McMaster came 3rd ahead of hosts University of Guelph.

from Rugby Canada

GUELPH, ON – The first ever national champion of men’s university rugby has been crowned. The UBC Thunderbirds defeated their provincial rival Victoria Vikes 37-12 in the inaugural gold medal game at the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship on a cold, snowy afternoon Sunday afternoon at the University of Guelph’s Alumni Stadium.

The Thunderbirds hoisted the new Spencer McTavish Trophy, named after the player and coaching legend who spent 30 years with the UBC program.

“It’s a very special moment,” said Thunderbirds’ head coach Rameses Langston. “The trophy being named after a good friend and mentor Spence McTavish makes it mean even more. This was in our sights. We were excited when the tournament came up and we knew it would be a lot of hard wors with great teams challenging for this. It’s nice to be recognized throughout the country as the number one university for rugby.”

The champions, who compete with Victoria in the B.C. Premiership, showed their dominance immediately and went up 32-0 after the first half. Wing Cole Keffer, centre Nico Cironomos, eight man Nick Allen, and Man of the Match lock James Carson, scored four consecutive tries in a 13-minute span of the opening half to seize control over their provincial rival. Outside half Theo Sauder, who led the inaugural tournament in scoring with 41 points, added a penalty kick in the 35th minute, followed by a try from tighthead Clint Lemkus, for a commanding 32-0 lead.

Flanker James O’Neill finally broke through for Victoria in the 68th minute, scoring the Vikes’ first try. After UBC’s Carson touched down for the second time in the match two minutes later, Victoria was given a penalty try in the 75th minute to close the scoring.

“Team is the best description,” Langston said regarding UBC’s effort on Sunday. “Everybody did their jobs. Different guys took it upon themselves to score points and play great defence. I’m just really proud of the way they played as a unit. All 26 guys got to contribute, which is a special thing.”

Victoria head coach Doug Tate was well aware of what UBC could do on the pitch. The Vikes lost to the Thunderbirds 44-24 in league play earlier this season and following an epic 11-11 draw with the host Guelph Gryphons on Saturday that sent Victoria to the final, there wasn’t much left against their strong neighbour.

“They’re a good team,” said Tate. “They outplayed us in the first half and used the wind to their advantage. Both teams had to play in their own end and fight against the wind. It was a fair result. We came back a little bit and it was nice to not get shutout. That’s a pretty powerful team.

“For our guys, they really enjoyed playing against their contemporaries. A lot of these guys competed on rep teams together, provincial teams, so they’re used to playing against each other. And they take a lot of pride in it.”

Tate was impressed with the first ever men’s national championship, acknowledging that the event can be fine-tuned in the future.

“Guelph did an outstanding job,” he said. “From the field staff to the concessions to the bus service, everything was top notch.”

Langston was pleased his team was recognized as the best men’s university side in Canada but suggested that winning the title was a beginning, and not an end.”

“Now we have to work even harder to maintain that status,” he said.

University All Star Team

School / Player
1 McMaster Mike Smith
2 McMaster Jack McRogers
3 UBC Clint Lemkus
4 UBC James Carson
5 Guelph Blake Aram
6 UVIC James O’Neill
7 UBC Jake Ikeda
8 Guelph Kolby Francis
9 UBC Will Percellier
10 UBC Theo Sauder
11 UVIC Aiden McMullan
12 UBC Nathan Rees
13 McMaster Mitch Richardson
14 UBC Cole Keffer
15 UBC Fraser Hurst

Canadian Rugby Foundation Provides Grant for Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship

The board of the Canadian Rugby Foundation are proud to announce their support of the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship with an annual grant of $20,000 as a key part of its platform for developing Canadian grassroots rugby.

This idea had its genesis in discussions between Doug Tate (UVic) and Mike Holmes (CRF) and subsequently with like-minded individuals Jeff Chan and Keith Labbett in Ontario. Though the concept had been tried before it did not have staying power – likely due to the lack of financial support.

The championship takes place from November 16th to 19th at the University of Guelph.

from Rugby Canada

The University of Guelph, Rugby Canada and the Canadian Rugby Foundation are pleased to jointly announce that the inaugural Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship will be held November 16th to 19th at the University of Guelph.

The Championship will feature teams from all four U SPORTS conferences (Canada West, OUA, RSEQ and AUS) and will have a six-team format with two pools of three teams playing on Thursday through Saturday, November 16-18 at Guelph’s Varsity Field, home of the Guelph Gryphons Men’s and Women’s Rugby teams. Guelph will be one of the six teams in the tournament, either as the OUA Champions or as the host team. The Bronze medal match will be held in the University of Guelph’s Alumni Stadium on Sunday, November 19 followed by the Gold medal match to crown the first 21st century Champion of Canadian University Men’s Rugby.

“We are pleased to pick up an initiative dating back to the University of Victoria in the 1980’s and 1990’s to create a sustained and truly national Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship. We would like to thank all of the staff at the University of Guelph’s Department of Athletics for agreeing to host this exciting event and we hope that this will be the beginning of a great tradition,” stated Keith Labbett and Jeff Chan co-chairs of the organizing committee. “It’s not often there is an opportunity to be on the ground floor of an exciting championship event, and I anticipate the same kinds of success we enjoyed with the Canadian College Bowl Board – the Vanier Cup predecessor – from its early days” added Chan.

“Rugby Canada recognizes Canadian university rugby as an important historical and continuing pathway to playing for the National Men’s Fifteens Team and are pleased to support this championship. We believe the tournament will be a success and are very confident we will see numerous players achieve national team representation via this exciting competition. With the selection of many players from the tournament to the Canadian University XV, there is added incentive for players and universities to participate. Our national team staff are looking forward to the competition,” stated Jim Dixon on behalf of Rugby Canada.

Though the tournament is not officially recognized or sanctioned by U SPORTS, eligibility and format will adhere to existing U SPORTS rules (including academic and 5-year maximum eligibility) and the organizing committee is hopeful that in time both the tournament and the sport of Men’s Rugby will be sanctioned by U SPORTS in the same way as Women’s Rugby and its national championship.

“Rugby Canada is one of the top sport organizations in our country. Growing the number of sports that have that opportunity to compete for a U SPORTS National Championship is an important part of my vision for elevating university sport in Canada. Although U SPORTS is not officially involved with this project, Rugby Canada has the support of U SPORTS and I anticipate the success of this event will be similar to the very successful National University Championships hosted by Tennis Canada and Golf Canada” stated Graham Brown, President and CEO of U SPORTS.

“We are thrilled to be selected as the host site for the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship,” says Scott McRoberts, Director of Athletics at the University of Guelph. “Our men’s rugby program has developed some great rivalries within our conference, but we cannot wait to see the talent from across the country. We really believe this tournament will be the start of something bigger.”

Further details will follow on the Rugby Canada and University of Guelph Athletics websites.

Bridge the Gap Fund – Saskatchewan Boys U18 Tour

The Canadian Rugby Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to support the Saskatchewan Rugby Boys U18 Tour to a tournament in the USA, the Maryland Youth Rugby Festival. This grant was from the Bridge the Gap fund which is aimed at the transition of high school players to club and university rugby programs through International rugby tours. Read more about the tour below and if you wish to read more about the Bridge the Gap fund and how to donate, please click hereContinue reading

How Castaway Wanderers Grew Their Fund to $100K in 8 Years Using $20

How do you make a difference with $20?

The not for profit world is full of organizations in crisis – or finding just enough resources to operate for the rest of the year. And the cycle of raising funds to remain solvent starts again in the next calendar year.

So it is with many rugby clubs, mine, Castaway Wanderers Rugby Football Club was/is no exception. A rough season with income generation and we are in a very tough place. One opportunity to become more fiscally prudent, was sparked for our club through the generosity of a major supporter of the Canadian Rugby Foundation. CWRFC learned that for every new  dollar raised for Canadian rugby and invested with the Canadian Rugby Foundation, this donor would match that with a 25% gift. Great incentive.

In the Spring of 2007, CWRFC launched an initiative that sought a monthly commitment of $20 from members of the club family. This would be permanently vested with the CRF, matched with the 25% mentioned earlier and thus become $300 annually per contributor into this new pooled fund. Tough to do much with the interest on $300 BUT we imagined a growing participation in this initiative and the impact this would have on the fund growth.

Fast forward eight years to Summer, 2015 and this fund that began with 2 investors at $20/month each has just reached $100,000 of vested capital. This is one more step on the path to greater stability and opportunity for our club.

Chris Spicer. Past President. CWRFC. Victoria. BC

About CWRFC

CWRFC has a long, storied history in British Columbia Canada. Their journey dates back over 100 years. The club is the amalgamation of the Oak Bay Wanderers (founded 1912) and the Castaway (founded 1965) Rugby organizations in 1989. The Club proudly displays BC Championship banners from 1999 to 2002, three consecutive seasons of interlock play involving Vancouver Island and Mainland clubs- a feat accomplished by only one other BC Club – and another BC Championship in 2011. Whether it is via Club tours of visiting teams of all ages, the National Senior Men’s Team members, players from coast to coast and internationally, or CW players currently on professional contracts, the Castaway Wanderers name and brand is known across Canada and around the world.

Gerald McGavin Coaching Award Fund Reaches $200K

The Gerald McGavin Coaching Award fund has reached $200K which is good news as about 4% is available to spend annually on the award. This means it can now fund on a permanent basis 2 coaches to go down to NZ every year.

In 2013 Rameses Langston was selected for the trip to New Zealand,  he was  the BC U18 coach at the time. He is now the head coach at UBC where he led the Thunderbirds to a BC Premier title last season

In 2014 both Shane Thompson and Ken Goodland went to New Zealand to spend time with the Hurricanes Super Rugby franchise.

The BC Rugby Union administers the selection process and accepts nominations normally up to the third week of March. More information on the nomination process and deadlines can be found on the bcrugby.com website.

About the Gerald McGavin Coaching Award:

The award recognizes rugby coaches from British Columbia who play a significant role in shaping young athletes both on and off the field. Gerald McGavin is a former BC athlete who represented his province against world-renowned sides including the Barbarians, Australia, British Lions and New Zealand Universities. Now a Member of both the Order of Canada and Order of BC, McGavin created the Award because of his love for the sport and to acknowledge the role rugby played in shaping his life. Past recipients include Rameses Langston, Jeff Williams, Martin Jones, Jason Young, Adam Roberts and Tom Larisch.

Luke Bradley 2014 Thomas Family Scholarship Winner Outstanding for Canada at U20 Level

As the 2015 Scholarship announcements are on the horizon we look back on the 2014 scholarship awards. One of the recipients was Luke Bradley of Port Alberni.

Luke went onto represent Canada at the Junior World Trophy Tournament (JWRT) and was one of Canada’s outstanding players at #8. Canada finished 2nd which matched their highest finish in recent history, they lost to Georgia who were promoted to the top tier Junior World Championship. The good news for Luke and Canada is that he has another year of eligibility at the U20 level, also look for him to get a few starts with the Vikes Premier team this season.

Here is what he wrote on his profile in 2014, he not only achieved his goal of making the Canada U20 team but he did it in style.

Well done Luke!

Luke Bradley profile from 2014

Birthplace: Port Alberni, BC
Favourite memory growing up: Hanging out with my friend Dallas
Position played: 6 or 8
First year playing rugby: Grade seven
Favourite coach: Jas Purewal
Most influential person in life: Jas Purewal
Favourite rugby memory: First time putting on the Canada jersey
Worst rugby memory: Losing to Ontario in the national championship finals
Favourite movie: 300
Favourite musician: Nickleback
Favourite book: Harry Potter
Career plans: Mechanic
Rugby goals in next 2 years: Make Canada U20
Favourite other hobby: Lifting weights

LukeBradley

Bridge The Gap Grants Getting Results – Toronto Dragons RFC

Thank you again for the Bridge the Gap Award.  Here is a quick recap of our 2015 program.

The Toronto Dragons established its youth program (ages 6-12) in 2014.  With funding from the Bridge the Gap fund, the Dragons were able to run two “TRY RUGBY” days.  The first session was held at an indoor field at the end of March.  This session was very well attended, and led into our first-ever spring session that we ran for 6 weeks in April and May at a local high school.  The second “TRY RUGBY” session was held at the end of May at our home pitch to launch our summer outdoor session.

As a result of events funded by the Bridge the Gap Award, we were able to triple the number of youth enrolled in our rugby programs.  Throughout the summer, we ran a Saturday morning house league for U8, U10, and U12 that consisted of a mix of skill development and game play.  Additionally, our teams entered 5 local festivals with many smiles all around.  The Toronto Dragons greatly thank the Canadian Rugby Foundation for their funding that helped us grow our youth programs.

Best regards,
Jeff Harris
Director of Junior & Minor Rugby, Toronto Dragons RFC

Antonio Corbin Wins First Howard and Marina Gerwing Scholarship

Antonio Corbin is a promising young player with the Cowichan Rugby club who came through the Ladysmith High School program. We congratulate him as the first recipient of the Howard and Marina Gerwing Scholarship.

[photo below show Antonio with Marina and Howard Gerwing]antonio_corbin

Howard and Marina Gerwing Fund

Howard and Marina Gerwing and a matching donor have pledged $10,000 over the next two years to create a fund for scholarships for Cowichan Valley rugby players. Cowichan Valley, outside of Victoria and Vancouver has probably produced as many National Team players at various age levels as anywhere in Canada

Howard Gerwing was the first coach of the University of Victoria Vikings and led them on three historic tours playing the national team of Yugoslavia in 1978 amongst other historic encounters.

Howard is also a bibliophile and built up the Special Collections section of the UVIC library to be a well known national scholastic resource. Long suffering Marina was in charge of domestic matters and the family residence on Palmer Road served for many years as the UVIC clubhouse and home for itinerant and wayward rugby players.

Howard with scant resources was the joint founder of the first UVIC scholarship fund “the Brian Williams” scholarship fund in memory of one of those wayward and talented players who sadly took his own life in 1987.