Mini Cowichan Piggie Brodie Brennan sneaks past an opposing defender during a match at the April 9 jamboree. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Mini rugby: small athletes, big deal

Sport growing in the youngest age groups

More than 300 athletes from 28 teams representing 10 clubs — including one each from the U.S. and England — took part in Cowichan Junior Rugby’s Mini Jamboree at Shawnigan Lake School on April 8.

Players from the U6 to U14 levels were involved in the long-running annual event, and Kenton McNutt, who heads up junior and mini programs for the Cowichan Rugby Football Club, was pleased with the outcome.

“This was my eighth year involved with Cowichan Junior Rugby’s spring Mini Rugby Jamboree at Shawnigan Lake School and once again it proved that mini rugby can deliver a fun-filled, safe and challenging sport option for all children,” he said. “Throughout the day, parents, coaches and players marvelled at the number of participants and the venue we had to enjoy this amazing sport.”

After decades on the fringes in Canada, rugby has experienced significant growth across the country for many reasons, McNutt said.

“Many of our players that are trying mini and junior rugby for the first time are really enjoying it due to its inclusive nature in that there really is a position for all players no matter what their skill set, size, et cetera,” he said.

“Quick and shifty or strong and sturdy, either way, everyone gets a sense of belonging to the team and contribute to it. It really is the ultimate team sport, we rely on every one of our players to contribute and every player gets the opportunity to touch and run with the ball and score a try. The culture of rugby is like no other. The respect for yourself, your teammates, the opposite team, the laws and the match officials are at the forefront of this culture.”

BC Rugby has moved toward the non-contact “Rookie Rugby” format for the U6, U8 and U10 age groups, with limited contact introduced at U12.

“The positive results this season have been almost instantaneous, with players who began our September season gaining the confidence and ability to execute the base skills with ease and at a higher level,” McNutt said. “A big step in the right direction.”

Rookie Rugby is being introduced to at least eight elementary schools in the Cowichan Valley this spring. Cowichan Junior Rugby is also hosting an eight-week introductory camp at the CRFC pitch on Monday evenings beginning May 1.

“This is for children ages 5 to 12 and specifically structured for young athletes being introduced to the sport for the very first time, focusing on the fundamental skills of rugby and safety,” McNutt related. “This more than prepares players for the next progression to our regular season of play, starting in September 2017.”

For more information about the program, visit the Cowichan Junior Piggies Facebook page.

Just Posted

Column Drivesmart: I want my car simple again

Today’s high tech cars that have centre console mounted displays should be against the law.

Providence Farm unveils new labyrinth garden

Created with the help of a $20,000 grant from the Victoria Foundation

Column David Suzuki: Oil spills pose unacceptable threats to marine life

Threat to marine mammals in B.C. waters from a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic is considerable

Column T.W. Paterson: This unpublished memoir is a gem

“I looked round and suddenly realised I had not the slightest idea where I was”

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

Ex-employee describes alleged sexual assault by B.C. city councillor

Complainant was a teen during the alleged 1992 incident

Parents group filing human rights complaint against Surrey school district

District denies Parents United Canada right to rent Bell Performing Arts Centre for rally next month

Amazon gets 238 proposals for 2nd headquarters

Submissions were due last week. Online retailer has said tax breaks and grants would be factors

Justin Timberlake invited back to Super Bowl halftime show

A ‘wardrobe malfunction’ with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy during his last appearance

A scary box office weekend for everyone but Tyler Perry

‘Boo 2! A Madea Halloween’ scared up a healthy $21.7 million in its first weekend in theatres

Even as long-form census data returns, Statcan readies for day without it

Wednesday’s release is expected to show immigrants making up a larger share of the population

B.C. VIEWS: Horgan fumbles salmon farm threat

Lana Popham falls for anti-aquaculture propaganda

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

Most Read