New Staff Positions Announced at BC Rugby

October 02, 2017

Vancouver, BC – October 2nd 2017: BC Rugby is pleased to announce new staff appointments.  Chris Assmus has taken up the role of Officials Development Officer while Tony LaCarte has been selected to head up the BC Rugby Boys' Elite Youth Rugby program.

Tony LaCarte & Chriss Assmus

Image: Tony LaCarte & Chris Assmus
(Credit: Hugh Jervis, Ilanna Barkusky, courtesy of BC Rugby)

The role of Officials Development Officer is a new one within the organisation, conceived to help support the match official component of rugby right across the province.  With Chris acting as a key liaison between the worlds of players, coaches, match officials and other support staff, BC Rugby is confident in achieving the goals laid out in its Strategic Plan.

Chris joins BC Rugby with an impressive track record for not only maintaining high standards of play in the games he officiates, but for encouraging growth and development of match officials in the sport.  By providing him with a platform and support, it is hoped that his natural inclination towards progression, improvement and a love of all things rugby, will prove beneficial for the whole BC Rugby community.

With a refereeing career that already extends over a decade, Chris comes to the organisation with a wealth of experience and a wide network of contacts throughout the rugby world.  In his illustrious career, he has already had the honour of officiating at some of the highest levels of World Rugby, including both international XVs matches and the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.  Despite these high-flying accolades, Chris can still be seen refereeing regularly on pitches up and down BC and is well known amongst players and coaching staff.

Reflecting on his selection for the role, Assmus said, “There’s always a way to get better and I’m excited to expand my contribution to the rugby community”.

Meanwhile, Tony LaCarte will be taking over stewardship of the BC Rugby Boy's Elite Youth Sevens program, seeking to build on the significant work done by Shane Thompson.  LaCarte has played rugby professionally for Canada, securing 21 caps between 2004-09 with the National Sevens team. He has also coached the BC U18 and U19 Rep teams, leading the U19s to back to back National Championship titles in 2015 & 2016. He also holds a coaching role with UVic Vikes, as well as acting as BC Rugby’s Rugby Development Officer for Vancouver Island.

The Elite Youth Sevens program was developed by BC Rugby as a result of rugby sevens being included into the Olympic games for 2016 & 2020. The program is geared towards identifying, training and developing athletes who can go on to represent their Regions, their Province and Canada at Age Grade Level and beyond.  A number of players who have passed through this program in recent years have gone on to play significant roles in both provincial and national teams, including Jared Douglas, Pat Kay, Geroge Barton, Jorden Sandover-Best and Theo Sauder.

Speaking about his appointment, LaCarte acknowledged the work of his predecessor.  “Shane Thompson did a huge amount with the program over 5 years, getting players into the National team and winning tournaments,” said LaCarte. “We want to build on that, providing players with development opportunities through competition and training”.  Reflecting on the opportunity ahead, LaCarte noted that “There is a great pool of young talent in the province and we have a fantastic opportunity to help ensure they realise their full potential”.

The program will commence with ID sessions, due to take place across the province from October to December.  These ID sessions, open to male athletes born between 2000-2003, will be free to attend.  Assisting LaCarte in these sessions will be Phil Mack, holder of 52 caps for the Canadian Men's Rugby Sevens Team.  Mack's experience of Rugby Sevens at the highest levels will be a valuable resource in helping to identify the most promising talent.

More information on the program and ID sessions can be found here.