The 2011 Fall Age Grade rugby season kicks off this weekend across the province with a total of 62 teams participating in seven divisions.
The Lower Mainland will feature male age grade competitions at the U15, U16, U17 and U19 levels. Vancouver Island will feature U17 and U19 men's leagues with regional winners going on to compete for provincial championships. The Under-18 women's competition will have six teams; five from the Lower Mainland with the sole Island side from Cowichan Rugby Club.
At least eight of the 30 players currently representing Canada at the 2011 Rugby World Cup came through the junior club system here in British Columbia.
Team Canada Captain Pat Riordan was a product of Burnaby Lake Rugby Club who featured in the junior ranks along with Ed Fairhurst (Castaway Wanerers), Matt Evans (Cowichan Rugby Club), Ryan Hamilton (Capilano RFC), Tyler Hotson (UBCOB Ravens), Adam Kleeberger (Bayside Sharks), Sean White (James Bay AA) and Conor Trainor (UBCOB Ravens). Cowichan Rugby Club product Brandy Van Eewen was capped for the Canadian Senior Women's National Team this past August, while Abbotsford products Meagan Chambers, Megan Hamm and Randi Hunter have recently suited up for the Canadian Under-20 national squad.
A total of 18 games will take place this weekend to kick off the full Age Grade schedule. One match has already taken place on Vancouver Island, with the U19 Castaway Wanderers side running away with a 72-19 victory over Velox last weekend.
The reigning Under-19 Men's provincial champs Vancouver Rowing Club are at home to Surrey this weekend with Abbotsford and Capilano facing off at Klahanie Park in Tier One action.
Both the Under-17 and Under-15 men's provincial titles are held by the Bayside Sharks, two teams that kick off their title defences at home this week. The U15s host United at South Surrey Athletic Park, and the U17s host Abbotsford. Youth rugby is at full strength in South Surrey, with Bayside also entering two teams in the Under-16 Lower Mainland competition.
The U18 Women's competition kicks off this weekend with Richmond away to United and Bayside away to Abbotsford. Current title holders Cowichan Rugby Club sit this weekend out but are in action on Sunday, October 2nd against Richmond. U19 Lower Mainland Men - Sat. September 24
TIER 1: Surrey at Vancouver Rowing Club (Brockton Oval) 10:00am
TIER 1: Abbotsford at Capilano (Klahanie Park) 10:00am
TIER 2: Chilliwack at Burnaby (Burnaby Lake Sports Complex) 10:00am
TIER 2: Richmond at United (Hume Park) 10:00am
TIER 2: Bayside at Surrey (Sullivan Heights) 10:00am
TIER 2: Kamloops at Kelowna (Kelowna) 12:30pmUnder-18 Women - Sun. September 25
Richmond at United (Banting Middle School) 11:30am
Bayside at Abbotsford (CFV Exhibition) 11:30amU15 Boys Lower Mainland - Sun. September 25
United at Bayside (South Surrey Athl. Park) 11:15am
Brit Lions at Chilliwack (Townsend Park) 11:15am
Capilano at Meraloma Rugby Club (Connaught Park) 11:15amU16 Men Lower Mainland - Sun. September 25
Capilano at Abbotsford (CFV Exhibition) 11:15am
Bayside-1 at Burnaby (Burnaby Lake Sports Complex) 11:15am
Bayside-2 at Langley (Cursh Crescent) 11:15amU17 Men Lower Mainland - Sun. September 25
Abbotsford at Bayside (South Surrey Athl. Park) 12:30pm
Ridge Meadows at Chilliwack (Towsend Park) 12:30pm
Vancouver Rowing Club at Kats (Balaclava) 12:30pm
United at Langley (Crush Crescent) 12:30pm
Capilano at Meraloma Rugby Club (Connaught Park) 12:30pm
Richmond at UBCOB Ravens (Jericho Park) 12:30pmU17 Men Vancouver Island - Sun. September 25
Velox at Castaway Wanderers (Windsor Park) 1:00pm
Cowichan at Port Alberni (Port Alberni) 1:00pmU19 Men Vancouver Island - Sun. September 25
Castaway Wanderers at Cowichan (Cowichan Rugby Club) 2:30pm
James Bay at Velox (Velox RFC) 2:30pm