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

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

Premier cites students, local Indigneous community as reason to repair the road

Realtor pitches Langford’s third retail cannabis store

Local business owner Ron Cheeke prepares to open Honeycomb Cannabis

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

Island contestant competes on Great Canadian Baking Show

Andrea Nauta auditioned for the show before but was lucky second time around

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

Nanaimo beekeepers take down nest of invasive giant hornets

One nest eradicated at Nanaimo’s Robins Park, but there are still Asian giant hornets around

Teens charged in stabbing death of B.C. man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of South Surrey’s Paul Prestbakmo

B.C. Premier John Horgan worried about ‘rise of racism’ in Canada

Asked to comment on Justin Trudeau’s ‘blackface’ incidents

Human case of West Nile virus reported on Vancouver Island

B.C. Centre for Disease Control confirmed case reported in August

Most Read