Canadian Women at the World Cup – Visit to Vimy Ridge

from Rugby Canada website by Bryan Kelly

Canada’s Women’s Rugby Team spent Saturday afternoon at the historic Vimy Ridge National Site of Canada, five days after the 100th Year Anniversary of the commencement of the First World War.

The trip to the monument and war trenches took place one day after Canada defeated Spain 31-5 to open the 2014 IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup in Marcoussis, France.

Vimy Ridge is a major source of pride for all Canadians, as 100 years ago thousands of young men gave their lives to help secure a great victory for the Allies.

At that time, Canada was a relatively young nation, and the victory proved to unite the country under strength, honour and integrity.

“Every time you wear a jersey for Canada, or see the Canadian flag, you have to remember how truly lucky we are and this place is a great source of pride,” said Canada Assistant Coach, Gary Dukelow.

“My grandfather was also here, so for me it’s an even bigger significance and I was fortunate to be here with Canada’s Men’s Team during the 1991 World Cup, and we had a great tournament that year too,” added Dukelow.

The Canadian team, along with travelling family members, took to the trenches and toured both the Canadian and German occupied areas before visitng the monument and Canadian cemetery.

Manitoba native Mandy Marchak – who’s playing in her third Women’s Fifteens World Cup – added her thoughts on visiting the historic site.

“We’re really lucky and fortunate to come to Vimy Ridge today with it being such a big piece of Canadian history. We got to see the underground tunnels, the trenches where they fought and it wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity and support of the Canadian Rugby Foundation, so we’re appreciative of them,” said Marchak.

Information on Vimy Ridge:

“At daybreak on April 9, 1917, all four divisions of the Canadian Corps (aided by the British 5th Division and a considerable number of artillery units), fighting together for the first time, stormed the Ridge. Preceded by a perfectly-timed artillery barrage, the Canadians advanced and, by mid-afternoon, had taken all their objectives except Hill 145 which was captured the following day. Then on April 12, the 4th Canadian Division with the British 24th Division on their left flank, took the Pimple at the northern end of the Ridge.

The hard-fought victory was swift, but did not come without cost. Out of 10,602 casualties, 3,598 Canadians gave their lives.

The victory at Vimy was a significant landmark for Allied fortunes in the First World War and back home in Canada, it united Canadians and brought honour and pride to the young nation.”

(Information via official on-site pamphlet, created by Veteran Affairs Canada)

Canada’s visit to Vimy Ridge would not have been possible without the support of the Canadian Rugby Foundation!

Hong Kong Canadian Rugby 7s Fund – Plan for 2015


Tickets are now on sale for the ninth annual Canadian Rugby Sevens Hong Kong Luncheon.  The highly-anticipated event will be held in the four star Excelsior Hotel’s Marina room in Hong Kong, prior to the start of the Hong Kong Sevens tournament on Thursday March 26 between 11:30-3:30pm. Proceeds from the event will go to Rugby Canada’s Sevens program and a growing legacy endowment to support teams in generations to follow.

The HSBC Rugby Sevens World Series stop in Hong Kong is known among the rugby community as one of the largest parties of the year.  Sevens teams from around the world are welcomed to the tournament that is described as a rugby Mardi Gras! With over 300,000 Canadians living in Hong Kong, this tournament is a perfect venue for hometown support.

The annual luncheon has become a focal point to raise awareness and gather Canadian rugby supporters. Friends, family, supporters and fans can meet and dine with the stars of the Canada Rugby Sevens teams.

“We have seen in previous years how beneficial this event can be. We want to be able to help our team reach their highest potential, and the best way we can do that is through funding. We raised $285,000 CAD during the 2014 season which is incredibly helpful as the teams gets ready for the Olympic qualifications in 2015,” said Executive Director of the Canadian Rugby 7s Fund, Stephanie Crozier.

 “This luncheon is a perfect opportunity for us to showcase our team to their fans and supporters and be able to fundraise for their development and growth so they can compete at a world class level,” said Crozier.


The Hong Kong Canadian Rugby 7s Fund was developed to raise money to bolster the Canadian teams. To kick off the Hong Kong Sevens tournament a luncheon is held prior to the tournament every year allowing additional funding to be raised.

“Contributions come from an incredibly proud and patriotic fan base among the 300,000 Canadian expats living in Hong Kong. Dedicated volunteers put in months of work leading up to the HK 7s and the fund has some very generous people step up to show their support to Canada,” said The Canadian Rugby Foundation via their website.

Since inception, the Canadian Rugby 7s Fund has become the largest private revenue source for Canada’s Men’s Sevens team, raising over $208k in 2013 and $285k in 2014. This funding has proven its value, as Canada has become a top tier competitor internationally, at the Honk Kong Sevens and a favourite to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.

“We as a team are very grateful to the Canadian Rugby 7s Fund. A huge barrier for any rugby team is funding and we know as a team we would not be where we are today with out the contributions from all our supporters,” said Canada’s team captain Nathan Hirayama.

“We always enjoy our time in Hong Kong. It is great to have so many Canadian fans at an event on the other side of the world. We always appreciate the dedication and support they have for our team,” said Hirayama.

For more information, or to purchase tickets please visit or email Stephanie Crozier at

Bridge the Gap 2014 Grants Announced

June 11th, 2014

The Canadian Rugby Foundation announced the successful applicants for the 2014 Bridge the Gap youth rugby grants. The Foundation awards grants to clubs that implement local or regional projects and or events that diminish barriers and make rugby more accessible to youth. The deadline for 2014 applications was April 30th, the application process is explained on the CRF website at: reading

Bridge the Gap 2014 Profiles: Bytown Blues RFC

The Bytown Blues from Ottawa have several projects planned for 2014 including a U12-U14 contact and mini flag festival in June, an expansion of the co-ed U12 program during the winter months and a mini program during the winter months.

A big part of the cost for winter programs is facility rental and some of the funds will be used to offset the costs of field rental under the Dome to make the program affordable for low-income families.

We wish the Bytown Blues success in their efforts to provide youth rugby programs all year round.

Bridge the Gap 2014 Profiles: Cowichan Valley Junior Rugby Development

The Cowichan Valley Junior Rugby Development program runs a successful “introduction to Mini Rugby” camp during May and June at the Cowichan Rugby club. They want to expand that program and run camps In Mill Bay this year with plans to expand to Ladysmith and Chemainus in future years.

The funds will be used to purchase material for the new camp including rugby balls, tackling bags, rucking pads and pinnies.

We wish Cowichan Valley Junior Rugby Development all the best with their new mini-rugby camp.

Bridge the Gap 2014 Profiles: St. Albert Rugby Club

June 11th, 2014

The St Albert Rugby Club is organizing their first annual Junior Rugby camp this year. It’s targeting an age group from U7 to U19 and hopes to attract 40-50 participants. They wanted to keep the cost low to compete with baseball and soccer camps being held at the same time.

The camp goals are to provide an opportunity for youth to experience rugby for the first time, increase the profile of club rugby amongst school level players, increase the interaction between older junior level players and their senior club team peers. Funds will be used to get Rugby Canada and Rugby Alberta sanctioning so that non-registered players can participate, help provide T-shirts and mouth guards to participants, and provide lunch for camp participants.

We wish the St Albert Rugby Club all the best with the first Junior Rugby camp.

Bridge the Gap 2014 Profiles: Ottawa Indians RFC

June 11th, 2014

The Ottawa Indians started their youth rugby program in 2008 with 7 youth and now have one of the largest programs in Eastern Ontario with between 100-120 youth in their U6-U14 programs. They have a large number of volunteers including 15 coaches.

They are organizing a youth tournament in June with the help of the Ottawa Irish Club. The event will be held at Twin Elm Park and attract between 300 to 400 participants. The funds will be used to pay for tournament costs including referees, food for players and medals.

We wish the Ottawa Indians success with their tournament.