The Comox Valley Kickers Rugby Football Club will be hosting an international match on June 23 when the Outback Barbarians pay a visit to Cumberland.
The Barbarians are an Australian rep side made up of players from across Queensland. As part of their four-week, eight-game tour of Western Canada and the United States they will be taking on the Kickers at Cumberland Village Park, with kick-off at 5:30 p.m.
The Kickers are in fine form having played through some tough competition in the Vancouver Island Third Division – the culmination of which resulted in a tight loss to a skilled Abbotsford team in the quarter-finals of the provincials.
Since that loss, the team has taken a hiatus from organized team practices, though many of the players attend the touch rugby sessions held at Lower Lake Trail field on Thursday evenings, have travelled to attend BC Rugby development camps or have gone on tour themselves.
Kickers’ head coach Dan Mills said of the friendly, “We’re up against it with this team. We play in a tough physical league here on the Island but southern hemisphere rugby is a different game altogether. The Australians won’t be put off by big hits. If we hope to win we’ll have to be really dialed in for the full 80 minutes.”
Kickers’ team captain Brandon Hudson added, “This is a real test for us. We play a basic style of rugby. We’re punishing in the tackle and try to make it a war of attrition. These guys are probably going to want to spin the ball all around the pitch so we’ll have to be disciplined. It’s going to be a very entertaining game to watch.”
Outback Barbarians’ manager Geoff Barton said the team would relish the playing conditions in both Canada and the U.S. “Barbarians’ rugby is characterized by hard, up-front work by the forwards and free running by the backs where scoring tries is always the priority,” he said.
The Queensland crew opens their tour June 21 against the Capilano Rugby Club in West Vancouver. Following their June 23 match in Cumberland, they take on the Banff Bears on June 29 in Alberta, Clansmen Rugby on July 2 in Edmonton, Red Deer Titans on July 5, Calgary Canucks on July 7, Chuckanut Bay Rugby Club in Bellingham on July 10 and finally the Eugene Stags on July 16 in Oregon.
Anyone wanting more information about the June 23 match or any other information about rugby in the Comox Valley is encouraged to contact Jesse Ramsay, Director of Rugby Operations, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit comoxvalleyrugby.ca