In just their second year being affiliated with the University of Regina, the rugby club is looking to make an impact.
In March of this year, the rookie club participated in nationals, which were held in British Columbia. Although the outcome of the tournament was not what the squad had anticipated, the team seems to have more goals than just winning games.
With an improvised roster of 12 players coming together for the national competition, this year the team is looking to increase their numbers for the upcoming season.
Much of the team is returning for a second year – as well as some new faces – but the relatively new team will always keep an open door to additional players who would like to become involved with rugby.
Along with the ambition for additional athletes, the team hopes to expose the game of rugby to more people in Regina – they believe their affiliation with the U of R will help with the grueling process of gaining exposure.
Many of the team’s current players could have simply participated in city leagues; however, being a university team presents different opportunities. Players have the chance to compete in a national competition – where only teams partnered with a university can attend.
The growth of the sport in Regina also means more publicity, and an incentive for female players to get involved. There may also be a possibility of bridging together with the Universities of Alberta and Manitoba to make tournaments at a university level more accessible for the mid-west provinces.
“The [U of R] is an untapped market. But the more people we can get into the sport, the better off all of us are.” – Alan Harvey
The direction the rugby team wants to take, combined with the eagerness it has to make many of these dreams a reality.
This eagerness is shown by current rugby player and U of R education student, Alan Harvey; along with other members of the team. In order to allow their team to participate in the 2012 nationals, the U of R rugby club raised roughly $9000 in only a few months. This effort had to be made because the U of R had no funding available for them.
Harvey commends their sponsors: The Saskatchewan Rugby Union, Baltic Homes, and Young’s Equipment for helping the team reach their goal and make it to B.C for competition.
“The rugby community really banded together and got us out there,” said Harvey about the support.
Unfortunately, A constant problem the rugby club dealt with – and one that is stunting its growth – is competition with other sports on campus. With the season commencing in the fall, rugby competes for fans with sports like football and hockey –which can be tough competitors – especially in Saskatchewan.
However, Harvey believes the rugby club’s home at the University of Regina will only help to grow the sport here.
“The [U of R] is an untapped market,” says Harvey. “But the more people we can get into the sport, the better off all of us are.”
Unfortunately, for those craving to the watch the new rugby boys this fall, you are going to have to wait; there are no real game opportunities for the team in the province as of right now.
However, watch for upcoming players like Dan Smith and Tendayi Chikukwa to make amends in March 2013 at the Rugby Sevens National Competition, and for a team full of pride to make a presence in the rugby community representing the U of R.