Just two months after helping the BC U19 men win the Canadian Rugby Championship, Comox Valley’s Foster deWitt and Nakai Penny are taking their game to the next level.
The duo is with the UBC Thunderbirds varsity rugby team that is taking part in the first-ever World University Rugby Cup (held in conjunction with the Rugby World Cup) Sept. 15-21 at Oxford University in England.
The event features eight universities from leading rugby nations competing for the University World Champion title: University of Oxford (England), Trinity College Dublin (Ireland), University of Cape Town (South Africa), New Zealand Universities (collective university team) (New Zealand), Waseda University (Japan), University of British Columbia (Canada), Stanford University (USA) and Siberian Federal University (Russia).
As well, based on their exceptional performance at the Nationals, deWitt and Penny have been invited to the U20 Canada squad training for next year’s World U20 trophy. They will train/tryout in September/January and then play off against the USA if they make the squad. The World U20 trophy is being held in Zimbabwe.
In England, the reigning British Columbia Premier League Provincial Champions UBC Thunderbirds have been drawn in Pool 2 with New Zealand Universities, Trinity College Dublin, and the Siberian Federal Universities. Pool 1 will be made up of Oxford University, University of Cape Town, Waseda University and Stanford University.
On Sept. 15 UBC will face New Zealand Universities at 2 p.m., with a 4:30 p.m. match scheduled against Trinity College Dublin. UBC will face Siberian Federal Universities on Sept. 18 at 10:30 a.m. The matches are 40 minutes in length, to be played at St. Edward’s School in Oxford.
After the group stages, the teams will progress to the knock-out rounds at the Iffley Road rugby ground (home of Oxford University RFC) from Friday, Sept. 18 through Monday, Sept. 21. For the full tournament schedule, visit ourfc.org
While both deWitt (formerly with the Vanier Towhees and Comox Valley Kickers) and Penny (a newcomer to the Valley from Penticton) train and study and work, the cost to participate in the Oxford tour is steep, and UBC is accepting donations to help with expenses.
“We are…encouraging any financial donations towards this tour to be made as soon as possible before we depart on Sept. 12,” a UBC spokesperson said.
“We really appreciate the generous financial support that has already been given to help the club offset the costs of the tour for the players and appreciate any further donations so we do not completely deplete our coffers for the season ahead.”
Donations can be made online through the Bird backer donation page at http://bit.ly/1Oid23k (make sure the team of choice is men’s rugby). Or contact Dave Brown at email@example.com to discuss any other payment method. Brown can also be reached at the office at 604-822-5958 or on his cell at 604-671-4283.
For more updates from Oxford, check out the Championship’s website at https://www.facebook.com/WURC2015