This past Sunday, over 150 young rugby players braved the elements to play the game they are learning and loving.
The Comox Valley Mini Kickers hosted the Investors Group Strathcona Jamboree at Village Park in Cumberland. Clubs travelled from Campbell River, Nanaimo, Cowichan and Victoria.
In the British Columbia Rugby Union’s Youth Program, children are separated into co-ed age groups, U6, U8, U10, and U12, and are taught the basic skills and rules of the game beginning with simple, non-contact, touch rugby on a smaller field. By the time the children are moved to the U12 category they are running games in full contact with modified scrums and lineouts.
“The children are often mixed with the other clubs and the focus is always the love of the game and camaraderie,” said Kickers’ spokesperson Lindsay Mallette. “We had several U8 aged children playing in their first jamboree and they did such an admirable job learning the ropes. Everyone kept smiles on their muddy faces and they are looking forward to their next set of games in Victoria on Oct. 6,” Mallette said.
“Our U12 squad played a gruelling four games, and some of our newer players tried out full contact for the first time in a game situation and certainly held their own! Our veterans worked out the first-game jitters and managed to get back into the groove after a long summer off.”
This group of boys and girls are also set for their next matches in Victoria. The Comox Valley Mini Kickers (ages six-12) practise on Wednesdays at 5:30 and Sundays at 12:30 at Village Park in Cumberland and are always welcoming new players.
After age 12 comes the U14 category, where the groups are split into boys and girls, and the field size gets larger. “Our Valley boys in the U14 age group teamed up with the boys from Nanaimo and north forming a squad to take on the teams from the south of the Island,” said Mallette.
“Although the team didn’t have a lot of time to practise as a unit, they played well together, and look forward to giving it another go.
“When our young ruggers hit age 14, they graduate from Mini Rugby and move up to the Junior designation. Junior Rugby on the North Island were able to join our Jamboree this year and play a couple of games in the afternoon after the Mini’s fun. They didn’t have to brave the weather that they younger ones did, but they did put on an excellent show.”
The U18 Comox/Campbell River girls took on the Cowichan squad. The team put up a strong fight and held them off to finish at 29-10. The full day of rugby ended with the Comox U18 boys taking on the Langford squad, and although the score of 66-0 for Comox may not tell the whole story, there were some huge strides made, and lessons learned in this match-up, Mallette said.
The Junior girls practise at 6:30 on Wednesdays at Village Park in Cumberland; for more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The Junior boys practise Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30, also at Village Park; for more information contact email@example.com.
“As always, The Comox Valley Kickers would like to thank our Mini and Junior sponsor, Investors Group, and invite anyone interested in rugby in the Valley, no matter your age, to visit our website at www.cvkickersrugby.ca or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org,” Mallette added
– Comox Valley Kickers RFC