VANCOUVER - A roster made up of 23 of Canada's rising stars will travel to Bermuda for their first ever international rugby tour this week when a U14 Invitational side departs from Toronto. The team is made up of players from across the country, including reps from Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Chilliwack, Campbell River, Toronto and St. John's, Newfoundland.
The team is set to travel March 13th-19th and their packed agenda includes a two-day tournament, beach rugby events and family-oriented activities.
Canada's NACRA (North American Caribbean Rugby Association) rep and former Rugby Canada Chairman Rick Bourne pursued the initiative as a way to introduce some of the country's future rugby stars to the opportunities that await them over the next few years. Bourne has also worked extensively with this age group and is currently a mini rugby coach with Vancouver's UBC Old Boy Ravens.
The itinerary includes a seven-a-side tournament at Bermuda's national stadium, part of a major rugby fest scheduled for the region.
The U14s will also be playing in a 12-a-side match against Bermuda this weekend at the National Sports Centre in Devonshire. The 'Test' match will be in front of a packed house, during the half time break between local senior men's sides Bermuda Selects and Yale.
"We recently had some meetings with NACRA officials in both Florida and Cuba and were discussing ways to further develop the game in our region. With an event like this for younger players I thought it would be a great way to not only help develop junior rugby in Canada but it also provides another opportunity for growth in Bermuda," Bourne said. "Hopefully we can see this continue to develop and in the future have teams like USA, Mexico and representatives from the Caribbean taking part."
The team will be based in Hamilton and are also set to compete in the local Horseshoe Bay Rugby Tournament on Monday, played on the white sandy beaches Bermuda is renowned for. The team will also be attending a number of banquet and barbeque hosted functions, including local hotspot Mad Hatter Restaurant, frequented annually by the Canadian Classics.
"This trip will really be a neat start to something that we hope builds into something greater," added Bourne. "We've been working closely with Bermuda Rugby Chairman Keith Hodgkins and it should be a great experience for both our Canadian players and the host union."
Canadian Invitational Touring Roster:
1. Ryan Agyagos (Capilano RFC)
2. Jacob Bourne (UBC Old Boy Ravens)
3. Aidan Brown (Aurora Barbarians, Ont.)
4. Saul Bryant (Dog's Rugby Club, Nfld.)
5. Seth Bryant (Dog's Rugby Club, Nfld.)
6. Liam Cooper (Vancouver Rowing Club)
7. Simon Crossfield (UBC Old Boy Ravens)
8. Piers von Dadelszen (Meraloma Rugby Club)
9. Thomas Hickman (Swilers RFC, Nfld.)
10. Brohan Jansen (Chilliwack Crusaders)
11. Dexter MacDonald (Meraloma Rugby Club)
12. Jacob Mallinder (Vancouver Rowing Club)
13. Alex Mort (Capilano RFC)
14. Michael Nakhleh (Meraloma Rugby Club)
15. Mark Oake (Dog's Rugby Club)
16. Daniel Parkins (Capilano RFC)
17. Nicolaus Sauder (Vancouver Rowing Club)
18. Jack Scher (Vancouver Rowing Club)
19. Hans Senger (Vancouver Rowing Club)
20. Michael Slater (Meraloma Rugby Club)
21. Matthew Terry (Meraloma Rugby Club)
22. Caden Ward (Meraloma Rugby Club)
23. Nolan Young (Campbell River Athletic Association)