Canada’s Hannah Darling drives past a New Zealand defender. (Black Press file photo)

British Columbians hooked on rugby

The province is rushing towards the sport with deep historical roots

According to Rugby BC, British Columbians continue to account for a high share of players representing Canada’s top rugby players. Sixty-eight per cent of players for the senior national men’s Sevens team come from British Columbia, while 49 per cent of the players on the Fifteens team hails from the province. Almost 62 per cent of the 2017/18 National Men’s U20 Team calls British Columbia home.

RELATED: Canada finishes fifth at world rugby stop in Langford

One of the oldest organized sports in Canada, rugby is currently experiencing a boom phase, both in participation and attendance for major events. Canada is home to almost 30,000 registered players, and some 70,000 fans bought tickets for the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Vancouver. One measure of this growing popularity is actually the public’s interest in a dispute over Rugby Canada’s decision to re-organize its structure.

RELATED: Victoria-area sevens players boycott Rugby Canada sessions, upset at new reorganization

The sport is also seeping into public, if not political conscience, as both New Democratic Premier John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Andrew Weaver are former players and fans of the sport. In fact, both visited an international rugby match held on the West Shore in the spring of 2017 following the inconclusive provincial election.

While both insisted that they were just watching a rugby game, observers interpreted their shared passion for the sport, as another sign of their pending political alliance, with the Greens playing the role of kingmakers.

The Grey Cup also has a connection to the sport. Rugby served as a template for the sport that eventually evolved into Canadian football, whose rules, while thoroughly Americanized, have retained rugby elements. Contemporary teams now competing for the Grey Cup also had their historical roots as rugby clubs.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

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

Just Posted

UPDATED: Pat Bay Highway blockade ends three hours later

About 80 people from four major Peninsula First Nations blocking major highway

Central Saanich Police prepared for afternoon shut-down of Highway 17

Sgt. Paul Brailey questions efficacy of protest

Fiddler on the Roof brings timely message to Oak Bay stage

Musical starts Friday in Dave Dunnet Theatre

North Saanich’s Deep Cove Market up for sale for almost $1.8 million

Long-time owner Rosemary Scott hopes the public will understand her decision

Saanich students get on board Walking School Bus

Rogers Elementary students led by teachers and Saanich Police in new initiative

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day in Victoria

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 25

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

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

B.C. Liberals call for ban on foreign funds to pipeline protesters

Sierra Club, Wilderness Committee back Coastal GasLink blockades

Most Read