Lachlan “Lockie” Kratz, 17, is an Oak Bay High Student and soon-to-be player in the Youth Commonwealth Games for Canada’s rugby sevens team.
July 17, Kratz and six Ontarians, two Albertans and three other young British Columbians caught flights to the Bahamas, where the three-day Games take place July 19 through 21. Kratz has been working this summer as a part-time labourer to save up for the major trip. The rugby squad for the Games is coached by Robin MacDowell and Fred Asselin.
Kratz has been involved in rugby since five years old and has played at Castaway Wanderers since 7 in the U8 team. The young player attributes much of his interest and success in rugby to the family line, including his grandfather Jim Gallagher who played for Australia, his brother Gavin Kratz who played for Canada and uncle Grant Gallagher who played for the USA. Kratz and his older brother inherited the natural interest and skill for rugby and both pursue the sport today.
“My dad was my first coach and kind of spurred me on,” Kratz said. “I loved [rugby] and never second-guessed it. It’s natural to me.”
For the past few weeks, Kratz has been training for the Games. He received the email to join the Canadian squad only weeks ago, after finishing grade 11 late June. Kratz will go on to play 15s in Calgary at the U17 level in August.
As for the Commonwealth Games, he says he’s both excited and nervous, citing it as his first big tournament. “It’s a huge responsibility and honour and creates opportunity to make a name for myself,” he said.
Kratz is grateful for the financial and emotional support of his family, in addition to the coaches and teammates who have helped him along his journey to competitive rugby. “I love the game, love the people, love the coaches. It’s become a big part of my life.”