Young players hit CW pitch

With approximately 75 Mini players, the club expects to hit the 100 mark soon

Ron Willems photos/courtesy Castaway Wanderers Youth rugby numbers are increasing for the Castaway Wanderers Rugby Football Club.

Ron Willems photos/courtesy Castaway Wanderers Youth rugby numbers are increasing for the Castaway Wanderers Rugby Football Club.

The Castaway Wanderers Rugby Football Club has played a big role in getting people of all ages involved in rugby in Oak Bay.

The history of the Wanderers dates back over 100 years, with the club an amalgamation of the Oak Bay Wanderers, founded in 1912, and the Castaway Rugby organization in 1989. However, it has only been in the last 15 years or so that the club has undergone major changes with the introduction of a Mini Rugby program, thanks to Ian MacLean.

“(MacLean) really is the architect of the program,” says Junior Boys and Mini rugby director Matt Gordon.

Gordon says the program was started from scratch with about 10 to 15 kids aged anywhere from eight to 13. Now, kids can get started within the program as early as age six. The Mini rugby program runs until the Under-12 age group, then the players move on to the Junior program.

The Wanderers’ main focus is on introducing kids to the game of rugby by providing a suitable level of rugby competition and outstanding coaching for all ages that will keep young people engaged in the sport.

Highly competitive and consistently vying for and winning provincial championships at all levels, the club enjoys healthy numbers, with more than 350 players registered.

“We have approximately 75 Minis, and we expect to hit the 100 mark soon. We also have about 85 junior boys,” says Gordon, who adds that while the numbers for the boys have been stable, the club is seeing a boost in the number of girls participating.

“We’re actually seeing the majority of our growth come from getting more girls playing, which is really great. David Crossley runs that program and started it about four years ago. I can’t say enough about the job he’s done with that program for the girls, as well as what it’s contributed to the club,” says Gordon, who also credits the success of the women’s national sevens team – including a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics – with prompting more girls to try the sport.

At the younger age groups, the girls are mixed on co-ed teams with the boys, but after age 10, the girls branch off into their own teams separate from the boys.

Among the sport’s biggest obstacles has been how to limit, and deal with, the rising concern among parents of concussions.

Gordon says every measure is taken within the club to educate players, coaches and referees on the signs and symptoms of concussions, and how to create safe and disciplined tackles to ensure minimal contact to the head.

The sport’s inclusivity is the main catalyst in growing the club, Gordon says.

“I don’t know a sport that’s as inclusive – anyone can play, all shapes and sizes. The game builds self-esteem instantly and I think that just comes with being part of a team, and playing a role on a team which is huge for kids,” he says.

“Most kids are drawn to it because it’s a team sport that involves physicality. It’s a really amazing combination of non-stop action and physical contact.”

Learn more about the Castaway Wanderers and their programs at cwrugby.com.

 

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

Just Posted

(Black Press Media file photo)
Court-registered sex offender arrested for breach of parole in Langford

Cameron Ratelle returned to correctional facility after female youth approached at bus stop

Jerry Dyck plans to purchase a new RV to drive across Canada in, once it’s safe to travel again. (Courtesy BCLC)
Victoria man plans post-pandemic cross-Canada RV trip after $2M lottery win

Retired electrician bought the winning ticket in Duncan

Marc Porpaczy said he’s glad he delayed his daily walk with his dog, Juno, after a car crashed just outside his driveway just before 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 25. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dramatic crash highlights need for sidewalks, say Colwood residents

‘The residents have gone from frustrated to angry’

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Residents of the Cowichan Valley decorated more than 55 vehicles with anti-racist slogans for a car rally in support of Cowichan Tribes on Saturday, January 24. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Dozens join anti-racism car rally and virtual panel in Cowichan Valley

Provincial ministry and BC Green caucus issue joint statement detailing concerns

Jesse Savidant, 31, is wanted by the RCMP after failing to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo in December. Police warn Savidant should be considered violent. (Photo Submitted)
Warrant out for man accused of stolen property offences across Vancouver Island

Jesse Savidant did not appear for court date in Nanaimo last month, say RCMP

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)
Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

Local musician and artist Daisy Melville created a watercolour portrait of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from the recent American inauguration, and with help from her mom, is now selling t-shirts and more with funds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank. Image submitted
Island artist turns Sanders inauguration meme into art for good

All proceeds from the sale of shirts, sweaters and more will go to the Comox Valley Food Bank

Most Read