Cowichan’s Jaxon Baker will play for the Celtic Barbarians at the Paris World Games next month. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan’s Jaxon Baker joins Celtic Barbarians

Rising rugby star will play in Paris World Games

Jaxon Baker’s rugby journey has already taken her to Las Vegas and Florida this year.

Next stop: Paris.

Baker, 15, has been invited by the Celtic Barbarians to play for their U15 girls side at the Paris World Games in July. The Celtic Barbarians, a highly regarded program that draws players from all over Canada and the U.S., consider Baker to be one of the top 10 rugby players in North America for her age group.

Already playing for Cowichan Secondary School, the Cowichan Piggies junior program, the Tsunami North Island team and Team BC, Baker had her name put forward by the Cowichan Rugby Football Club to play with the Barbarians at the Tropical Sevens in Florida in April.

“It went really well,” Baker said of the Tropical Sevens. “We finished third. I met a lot of new people and made some new friends.”

Based on her play in Florida, and with Team BC at the Las Vegas Sevens in February, Baker was invited to play at the Paris World Games, which draws more than 10,000 young athletes from 80 countries to the capital of France to compete in five sports: rugby, soccer, badminton, basketball and handball.

Baker, who will leave for Europe on July 2, is understandably “very excited” about the trip.

“About the games mostly — getting to play,” she said. “I’m also excited to see the Eiffel Tower, as cheesy as it sounds.”

A wing in both rugby sevens and XVs, Baker enjoys aspects of both disciplines of the sport.

“I like the running part of sevens,” she said. “It’s more tiring, but that’s what I want to do. I like XVs because you have more support, but I’m stronger in sevens.”

The Paris World Games should help Baker get closer to her goal of playing rugby in university.

“It’s a chance to be seen and maybe get a scholarship,” she said.

A fundraiser for Baker is taking place at the Lion Rampant pub in Maple Bay this Saturday, where supporters can get a beer and burger and help out a promising young athlete for $25. The event will also include a silent auction.

For more information about supporting or sponsoring Baker, contact her mom, Janelle, at jaxonmom@gmail.com

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