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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cold water swimming a morning ritual for Willows Beach crew

Group turned heads when they slow-walked into the Polar Plunge

South Vancouver Island B.C. Hydro Customers without power

Due to high winds nearly 3,900 B.C. Hydro customer will be out of power

Sidney signs off on 2020 budget with 1.79 per cent tax increase

Budget also includes additional funding for Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea

Search begins for two missing scouts near Sooke

Crews headed to Jordan River area after receiving call just after 2 p.m.

Scaffolding falls due to strong winds at Millstream Village Sunday afternoon

No injuries or vehicles damaged, according to West Shore RCMP

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Massive early-morning blaze destroys Vancouver Island home

Firefighters from three departments called in to battle fire at unoccupied residence

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

VIDEO: Wounded Warrior Run leaves Port Hardy on eight-day trek down Vancouver island

The team’s fundraising goal this year is $250,000, which is double last year’s goal.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read