A startup rugby group is operating under the umbrella of the James Bay Athletic Association, and hopes to attract players from the Saanich Peninsula and Saanich. They are practicing right now at Claremont Secondary School. (Steven Heywood/News staff)

Bays Peninsula Rugby hopes to attract more players

Local group seeking girls and boys from Saanich and the Saanich Peninsula

Tryouts have started for a new youth rugby group that hopes to draw players from the Saanich Peninsula.

On Sunday, Sept. 10, coaches Jared Barker and Greg Crague welcomed a group of young, aged 12 to 16 — boys and girls — to a session of scrimmages with Bays Peninsula Junior Rugby at Claremont Secondary School. They are hoping additional days on the pitch next week will attract more interested players.

Barker says there’s no current rugby club program for youth on the Saanich Peninsula and players have to travel into Victoria, Oak Bay or the Westshore to find teams outside of school-based teams. He added the point of this program is to offer the sport a little closer to home.

They are working under the umbrella of the James Bay Athletic Association. Barker said starting a new organization from scratch isn’t something they were ready for at this stage, adding if the group grows, it would be a possibility to go out on their own in the future. But their focus is on growing interest on the Peninsula.

For now, using the James Bay youth rugby club’s colours and administrative support, they are looking for boys and girls from age 12 to 16, who want to play rugby. Barker said he coached at Bayside Middle School in Central Saanich for a few years and hopes this is something that will catch on.

“We are trying to get kids who might not have gotten a chance to play.”

While their focus is on potential club players from Bayside, North Saanich Middle, Stelly’s Secondary and Parkland Secondary schools, they will also accept players from the Saanich area as well.

Next week, the club will hold another two sessions of introductory rugby — Monday and Wednesday at Claremont at 4 p.m. After that, practices will begin and the season of junior rugby in the Capital Region begins on September 24.

People can still register at jamesbayrugby.com or for more information, they can email jbarker1975@gmail.com.

 

Coach Jared Barker (in hat) scrimmages with some of the interested players. (Steven Heywood/News staff)