With Rugby Canada chair Rick Bourne

Elite rugby makes its home in Langford

The country’s top rugby players will soon be training year-round at City Centre Park.

  • Aug. 17, 2011 11:00 a.m.

The country’s top rugby players will soon be training year-round at City Centre Park.

Langford has partnered with Rugby Canada to becomes the national headquarters for Canada’s men’s and women’s rugby teams as they prepare for world and Olympic competition.

Trevor Arnold, director of rugby based out of Rugby Canada’s Victoria office, said the organization was looking to move its teams to coastal B.C. to avoid winter conditions getting in the way of practice.

“The rest of the world has gone very professional in rugby and we made the decision that if Canada is going to keep pace, we need to be training 12 months of the year,” Arnold said. “Langford stepped up and said we could go there, and we’re very excited about it.”

City Centre Park’s turf field is already sanctioned for International Rugby Board games, such as when Team Russia met the B.C. Bears in 2009. Arnold expects there will be many more international teams visiting Langford in the years to come. Invitations are already in the mail to bring in teams touring January to April 2012.

“We’ve never had a place to hold invitationals in Canada. It’s important for improving the team. We’ll want as many games as possible,” Arnold said.

Canadian athletes will begin arriving in January, including 40 men and 25 women from senior and under-20 teams, and their support staff.

They’ll make use of existing training facilities in Eagle Ridge arena, which is being renovated to add a high tech scrummaging zone and clinic for sports medicine.

A new building on Glen Lake Road will become Rugby Canada’s headquarters. Administrative and business offices from Victoria and Toronto will be centralized there.

Initially athletes will be billeted in the community, and eventually they will move into a 70-bed athletes residence that will be incorporated into the Westhills development.

Collectively, the offices, residence and training facility will be called Canadian Rugby Centre of Excellence. Langford Mayor Stew Young said details of where exactly everything will go are still being worked out.

“We’ve got lots of space to work with,” Young said, noting that he doesn’t expect any teams will need to be bumped out of Eagle Ridge or turf field facilities to make room for Rugby Canada.

“It’s good for all the athletes to have a variety of sports going on, and especially having elite athletes will bring in sponsorship money to improve the facilities for everyone.”

Currently the Westshore Rebels junior football and Highlanders professional women’s soccer teams use the turf, and there’s a deal with school district to allow future high school students to use it after a new school is built at the Glen Lake site to replace Belmont secondary.

Young said the deal is a great economic opportunity for the city overall. He expects it won’t be long before a big funder such as Rogers wants to take over the naming rights for the Bear Mountain stadium, as it starts to attract larger crowds.

“We built really good sports facilities to attract attention, and we’re starting to see that now,” Young said.

“All the athletes and their trainers and everyone who comes to see them play, they’re bringing more people and more business here, which is good for everyone who lives here.”

news@goldstreamgazette.com

 

 

Just Posted

Fun zone the heart of Sooke’s 20th-anniversary celebration

Donations in remembrance of Hannah Day showed the community’s generosity

Junior Shamrocks fall to Northmen in 2019 Minto Cup

Orangeville tops Victoria in three-game sweep

Buffy the audience slayer: St. Marie coming to Sidney

Powerful live shows a big part of veteran Canadian folk star’s success; she’s here Sept. 26-27

Victoria Shamrocks shoot for the WLA title on home floor

Senoir lacrosse team takes on Maple Ridge in Colwood Sunday at 6 p.m.

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Most Read