When Langford rugby star Julian Foggitt is asked what it will feel like to represent his country on the pitch, he struggles to find the words.
“I don’t know how to explain it. It’s thrilling and almost scary too … I don’t want to mess up and you want to make Rugby Canada proud. It’s difficult to really explain it,” he said.
Foggitt will don the maple leaf for the first time in competitive play for an April 7 match with Georgia to kick off the Rugby Europe U18 Open Championships in Quimper, France. Depending on how the Canadians fare in their opener, they could face France, Japan or the United States in subsequent fixtures, scheduled for April 11 and 15.
And while he’s used to being one of the top athletes on the field locally, it took some time before it really sunk in that he’d made an elite squad comprised of the best of the best in his age group.
“It was just kind of a shock … It was hard to believe that I was among the top rugby athletes in Canada. It’s just incredible to think (about),” he recalled.
The Belmont secondary student was one of 10 B.C. products – more than any other province – to make it on the squad after a selection camp, which conveniently took place at Shawnigan Lake.
“Especially at the start of the camp, we definitely have our groups between B.C. and Alberta and all that. But after the first day we’re Canada. We’re definitely a team once we get to know each other a little bit,” Foggitt said.
Esquimalt’s Hunter Grant and Oak Bay’s James Newman are the other Greater Victoria athletes on the team, while Cowichan rugby’s Will Percillier rounds out the Island selections for the 26-man squad.
Foggitt said his game has improved in two key areas over the past few months and he credited his training at the Canadian Sport School with that development. “I feel faster and I feel stronger and I’ve definitely shown it on the field … I don’t have trouble tackling bigger guys anymore.”
He joins the rest of his Canadian teammates for a training camp from April 1 to 4 in Toronto before crossing the pond for the U18 tournament.