Rugby is making a resurgence at Belmont secondary school, with 2014 the first in many years the school has been able to offer both boys and girls sevens rugby teams.
This is the second year Belmont has been able to field a team in the South Island Girls Rugby Sevens League, consisting of secondary schools in the area.
Last year about 10 teams took part and this year it looks as though the league will be up to 11.
Coach Darrell Doerkson hopes there will be an opportunity to play North Island and Lower Mainland teams this year, but Belmont will have to qualify for that.
“We’re hoping to eventually build it back up to a 15s league, but right now we had good success last year and we’re hoping this year will be a good success as well,” Doerkson said. “It’s very much
fledgling right now.”
One of last year’s captains, Miranda Llewellyn, Grade 11, scrum-half, said she’s looking forward to seeing what the team can achieve this year after its fairly
impressive start last season.
“I just kind of like how you have to be very physical in the game and how you have to use different aspects of sport, so agility and speed and aggression,” Llewellyn said. “I definitely urge other girls to come and try it.”
“It’s a great workout, it’s a different type of sport than maybe what they’re used to,” Doerkson said. “There are definitely some girls that like to rough it up a little bit, get dirty. I think it’s serving a need for those girls that want to play a tougher type sport that’s not basketball or soccer.”
The boys rugby sevens program is coming back from a two-year hiatus, with coach and vice principal Mike Huck reinstating the program.
“It’s one of those games you can play for the rest of your life,” Huck said. “It takes (brings together) all those good things about school: partnership, community, hard work, fitness. And it’s a lot of fun.”
Huck said he’s coaching a “stacked” team this year, with many of the Belmont Bulldogs football players playing double duty on the rugby team.
“It speaks volumes of the way Belmont has approached athletics and made athletics such an important part of the school. Now we’re getting kids who are really fit and good athletes wanting to try new sports.”
Rugby Canada, located just up the road from Belmont, has been supportive of the program, Doerkson said, with some players running clinics for the teen players and some equipment being donated.
“It’s not a formal partnership but the rugby community will come together and give support,” Huck said.
The boys first game is March 6, at home against Esquimalt high school. The girls first game is March 28.