Gerald McGavin Coaching Award Fund Reaches $200K

The Gerald McGavin Coaching Award fund has reached $200K which is good news as about 4% is available to spend annually on the award. This means it can now fund on a permanent basis 2 coaches to go down to NZ every year.

In 2013 Rameses Langston was selected for the trip to New Zealand,  he was  the BC U18 coach at the time. He is now the head coach at UBC where he led the Thunderbirds to a BC Premier title last season

In 2014 both Shane Thompson and Ken Goodland went to New Zealand to spend time with the Hurricanes Super Rugby franchise.

The BC Rugby Union administers the selection process and accepts nominations normally up to the third week of March. More information on the nomination process and deadlines can be found on the website.

About the Gerald McGavin Coaching Award:

The award recognizes rugby coaches from British Columbia who play a significant role in shaping young athletes both on and off the field. Gerald McGavin is a former BC athlete who represented his province against world-renowned sides including the Barbarians, Australia, British Lions and New Zealand Universities. Now a Member of both the Order of Canada and Order of BC, McGavin created the Award because of his love for the sport and to acknowledge the role rugby played in shaping his life. Past recipients include Rameses Langston, Jeff Williams, Martin Jones, Jason Young, Adam Roberts and Tom Larisch.

Luke Bradley 2014 Thomas Family Scholarship Winner Outstanding for Canada at U20 Level

As the 2015 Scholarship announcements are on the horizon we look back on the 2014 scholarship awards. One of the recipients was Luke Bradley of Port Alberni.

Luke went onto represent Canada at the Junior World Trophy Tournament (JWRT) and was one of Canada’s outstanding players at #8. Canada finished 2nd which matched their highest finish in recent history, they lost to Georgia who were promoted to the top tier Junior World Championship. The good news for Luke and Canada is that he has another year of eligibility at the U20 level, also look for him to get a few starts with the Vikes Premier team this season.

Here is what he wrote on his profile in 2014, he not only achieved his goal of making the Canada U20 team but he did it in style.

Well done Luke!

Luke Bradley profile from 2014

Birthplace: Port Alberni, BC
Favourite memory growing up: Hanging out with my friend Dallas
Position played: 6 or 8
First year playing rugby: Grade seven
Favourite coach: Jas Purewal
Most influential person in life: Jas Purewal
Favourite rugby memory: First time putting on the Canada jersey
Worst rugby memory: Losing to Ontario in the national championship finals
Favourite movie: 300
Favourite musician: Nickleback
Favourite book: Harry Potter
Career plans: Mechanic
Rugby goals in next 2 years: Make Canada U20
Favourite other hobby: Lifting weights


Bridge The Gap Grants Getting Results – Toronto Dragons RFC

Thank you again for the Bridge the Gap Award.  Here is a quick recap of our 2015 program.

The Toronto Dragons established its youth program (ages 6-12) in 2014.  With funding from the Bridge the Gap fund, the Dragons were able to run two “TRY RUGBY” days.  The first session was held at an indoor field at the end of March.  This session was very well attended, and led into our first-ever spring session that we ran for 6 weeks in April and May at a local high school.  The second “TRY RUGBY” session was held at the end of May at our home pitch to launch our summer outdoor session.

As a result of events funded by the Bridge the Gap Award, we were able to triple the number of youth enrolled in our rugby programs.  Throughout the summer, we ran a Saturday morning house league for U8, U10, and U12 that consisted of a mix of skill development and game play.  Additionally, our teams entered 5 local festivals with many smiles all around.  The Toronto Dragons greatly thank the Canadian Rugby Foundation for their funding that helped us grow our youth programs.

Best regards,
Jeff Harris
Director of Junior & Minor Rugby, Toronto Dragons RFC

Antonio Corbin Wins First Howard and Marina Gerwing Scholarship

Antonio Corbin is a promising young player with the Cowichan Rugby club who came through the Ladysmith High School program. We congratulate him as the first recipient of the Howard and Marina Gerwing Scholarship.

[photo below show Antonio with Marina and Howard Gerwing]antonio_corbin

Howard and Marina Gerwing Fund

Howard and Marina Gerwing and a matching donor have pledged $10,000 over the next two years to create a fund for scholarships for Cowichan Valley rugby players. Cowichan Valley, outside of Victoria and Vancouver has probably produced as many National Team players at various age levels as anywhere in Canada

Howard Gerwing was the first coach of the University of Victoria Vikings and led them on three historic tours playing the national team of Yugoslavia in 1978 amongst other historic encounters.

Howard is also a bibliophile and built up the Special Collections section of the UVIC library to be a well known national scholastic resource. Long suffering Marina was in charge of domestic matters and the family residence on Palmer Road served for many years as the UVIC clubhouse and home for itinerant and wayward rugby players.

Howard with scant resources was the joint founder of the first UVIC scholarship fund “the Brian Williams” scholarship fund in memory of one of those wayward and talented players who sadly took his own life in 1987.

Dick Ellis Memorial Fund Provides Support to National Team Captains

The Dick Ellis Memorial Fund (DEMF) originated in 1978 as an ongoing memorial to Mr. Dick Ellis, a Rugby Canada President, who had passed away in office. Donations were provided at the time of Mr. Ellis’s death, and since its inception the trustees of this fund have been distributing financial awards ranging in degree for worthwhile educational Rugby projects across Canada.Continue reading

Bridge the Gap 2015 Grants Announced

The Canadian Rugby Foundation has announced the 2015 recipients of the Bridge the Gap Youth Rugby Grants. The grants are awarded to clubs that implement local or regional projects and or events that diminish barriers and make rugby more accessible to youth. The Canadian Rugby Foundation wants to see more Canadian youth choosing rugby as their sport and reaping the benefits and embracing the positive core values of this great team sport.

The following nine rugby programs will receive grants totalling over $30,000 to implement specific youth rugby initiatives.

Airdrie Highlanders
Beaconsfield RFC
Comox Valley Kickers
Meraloma RFC
Nor’Westers RFC
Ottawa Indians RFC
Toronto Dragons RFC
Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation (TIRF)
Westshore Velox RFC

For more information on specific initiatives visit

Congratulations to the successful applicants.

From Members of Committee,
Michael Bull – Chair
Kyle Nichols
Mark Wyatt

Airdrie Highlanders — Bridge the Gap Grant 2015

The Highlanders began in the Airdrie Schools, visiting all grades in Junior High and High
School, and an estimated 6,100 children were introduced to the sport from this effort. This led into participation in their Mini Flag Rugby program, which saw just over 100 participants in U5/U7/U9/U11/U14 categories in their first year (2014). The program was a roaring success, and they hope to double in size this year. Additionally, they are starting city-wide U16/U18 teams for both boys and girls to play exhibitions in Calgary.

The key event they wish to get off the ground is the Youth Jamboree the weekend following the Labour Day long weekend (Sept 12). In it they wish to invite all Alberta clubs to participate in Rugby 7s, at all ages (flag for U5 to U11, and contact for U14/U16/U18). Hosted at the George McDougall High School, they have three full fields and some open areas in which to conduct multiple games at once, split into junior, intermediate, and senior games.

Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation (TIRF) — Bridge the Gap Grant 2015

The Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation aims to build community through rugby and rugby through community. They are committed to seeing the growth of the game at all youth levels. During their 2013 strategic planning meeting with stakeholders from all nine clubs in Toronto, TIRF identified a lack of programs, infrastructure, and resources when it comes to rugby for children aged 6-12. TIRF was tasked with establishing minor rugby in Toronto by developing resources, strengthening infrastructure, and initiating programs. More than that, however, TIRF took it upon itself to create a market for rugby in Toronto by engaging key non-rugby partners and providing them with the necessary tools to run rugby programs.

During the summer of 2014, TIRF, along with club partners piloted a youth rugby program. The goal of this program was to introduce rugby to as many kids as possible through avenues such as schools, community groups/centres, and provide them with an opportunity to continue participating at the club. TIRF hired eight Youth Rugby Development Interns and dispatched them across the city with great results. In total, TIRF provided introductory rugby programs to over 3,500 students!

The initial CRF funding has helped them reach several community groups in a meaningful way (beyond introduction) and they are currently working with those community groups to plan summer programming. Additional funding allows them to create community based house-leagues and/or drop-in sessions that would promote the sustainable development of the game making their introductory programs sustainable.

Through this CRF grant, they will continue targeting communities that are new to rugby and provide them with an opportunity to try the sport and stay. The main goal is to broaden the pyramid of play at the bottom helping to ultimately grow the game in the long term. The project will not only introduce rugby but it will allow TIRF to help build the infrastructure to handle the growth.

Toronto Dragons — Bridge the Gap Grant 2015

The youth program at TDRFC started in the spring of 2014 with around 20 participants signing up. They are looking to expand and continue spreading the game of rugby throughout Toronto. They believe they are in a great area that has many youth with the potential and desire to play rugby, but are not aware of rugby programs.

The event will include two days of various rugby related drills and activities. One day will take place on an indoor field and the other on an outdoor field. During this event, kids will learn basic rugby skills to help them improve, and draw new players into the sport. After the event, participants will be given a t-shirt and information on how to sign up. The plan for the event is to make it free of charge to draw even more interest.

Ottawa Indians — Bridge the Gap Grant 2015

The Ottawa Indians started their youth rugby program in 2008 with 7 kids. They have continued to develop exponentially and are now one of the largest programs in Eastern Ontario with between 100-120 kids in their U6-U14 programs. They have a multitude of volunteers including 15 coaches. Their youth rugby members are moving up throughout th junior programs – this year, they will have their first U18 boys team after many years.

Their event will be a youth rugby tournament on June 7, 2015 — they are co-organizing with the Ottawa Irish rugby club and expect to have 5-7 clubs participate from Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. This event will take place at Twin Elm Rugby Park.