As the winter sun sets on Goudy Field in Langford a ragtag group of teens is learning the basics of rugby from one of the top players Canada has ever produced.
Winston Stanley, former national player and current record holder for most tries, runs the group through basic plays and chipping for a non-contact game. The players look cold, but they also look like they’re having fun.
Rugby continues to grow on the West Shore with the introduction of drop-in games on Fridays at Goudy Field.
Velox Vahallians Rugby Football Club ran an under-17 team out of Westhills Stadium last fall and plan to do the same again this year. In the meantime, players are invited to come out from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Fridays for training and casual games.
The Friday drop-ins are giving new players of all ages, and in particular those aged 13 to 18, a chance to come and learn some basic skills and have some fun.
“We’ll do a few skill drills and then we’ll play some games, and just try to keep it fun and entertaining,” said Winston Stanley, who is running the program. “Just trying to generate some rugby excitement and buzz and give them a place to train and somewhere to go.”
Stanley said Velox is looking at a long-term plan to move all of its operations to the West Shore, to take advantage of a growing population and of the presence of the headquarters for Rugby Canada. Velox is tied in with its current location on Gordon Head Rd. until 2015.
“As far as a long-term plan, we’re trying to set some roots down in the West Shore communities,” Stanley said. “So that there’s a club out there for kids to play at. Right now there’s not.”
About 13 regular players came out for the fall team. The team didn’t win a game, but did manage to field enough players for all games and Stanley said they did well for a new team.
“It was pretty positive, I think the kids had a good time,” Stanley said. “They’re young enough that they can stay together for a year or two, hopefully.”
Anyone interested in taking part can register in person at a Friday session. Registration costs $60 to $75 for the season, to cover costs.
Visit langfordrugby.com for details.