Rugby catches on at Valley elementaries

Nearly 100 young athletes take part in jamboree

Nearly 100 young athletes took over the pitch at the Cowichan Rugby Football Club last Thursday for the Valley’s first-ever elementary school rugby jamboree.

This was the first year for the elementary rugby program, a joint effort between the schools and the CRFC’s junior offshoot, and Junior Piggies president Kenton McNutt was pleased with the results.

“The feedback was very positive,” he said. “A number of coaches that were quite new to the game were unsure of what to expect once the kids started playing, but as we observed, the players adapted quickly to a few new laws that were introduced and really excelled at the core principles of the game of rugby by attacking open space, letting the ball do the work, fair play and respect for the opposition and most important: having fun.”

More than half a dozen public and private elementary schools took part in the flag rugby program, learning the basic skills of the sport in a matter of weeks.

“We were very impressed with how quickly so many players picked up the basics of the game of rugby in such a short time,” McNutt said. “It really goes to show that there is a spot for rugby in elementary schools at these age levels. Rugby Canada’s Rookie Rugby program really does make it very easy and straightforward for teachers and coaches with very little or no experience in rugby to grab a bag of flags, cones and balls and run a session for their students with confidence.”

Cowichan Junior Rugby and BC Rugby will be offering Rookie Rugby training sessions for teachers, parents and other volunteers who want to learn more about the game and introduce their students to it.

McNutt was thrilled to see the sport catch on with more young players.

“By the end of the jamboree, many of the coaches stated that their students hoped they could continue on with the program at school,” he said. “That in itself speaks volumes for the sport of rugby: it’s just a natural fit for kids and teaches positive core values that, quite frankly, our society could maybe use a little more of.”