On Saturday, August 6th, the Canadian Rugby Foundation continued its fine tradition of distributing Caps to former Canadian internationals, for their service to this country’s national team. In front of thousands of passionate rugby fans at Toronto’s BMO Field, Director Matthuw Ronald-Jones made his way to mid-field for the pre-match ceremony. He shared these thoughts on the tremendous atmosphere of the Toronto event:
“The Canadian Rugby Foundation was very pleased to be part of Canada’s only home match prior to the Rugby World Cup, in such an amazing facility as BMO Field in the heart of Toronto.”
Waiting to receive their caps were a quartet of Canadian internationals, many of whose names would no doubt ring bells in the mind of the dedicated Canadian rugby fan. The occasion represented an incredible opportunity to expose the huge crowd in attendance to the Foundation’s work, and an appropriate atmosphere in which honour these servants of the game we all love.First in line was none other than Canadian lock forward Oliver Atkinson. Oliver was born in Sheffield, England and played rugby, as a fourteen year-old at Wrekin College, east of Birmingham. He came to Canada as at the age of sixteen. Finding a home at the Aurora Barbarians club in Ontario, he soon moved west and caught the eye of the National team selectors.
The beginning of Atkinson’s five match international career came against Japan, during the Super Cup, in 2005. Oliver’s love for the game then took him overseas, where he was able to play professionally in both England and France. Beginning at Stade Bordelais, he went on to play multiple years for Moseley, in what would eventually be called the R.F.U. Championship. Oliver is a fine representative for Canadian rugby and is now justly rewarded with his national team Cap.
Next up was Canadian Sevens legend and XV’s international Marco di Girolamo. Serving as Captain of the Canadian Men’s Sevens Team, Marco also had a hugely impressive career in the XV’s program; making his debut against Uruguay, in May of 2001. Twenty-One tests later, he would win his last cap against England, at Twickenham in 2004. Marco is still a fixture at the Aurora Barbarians club, where he has remained loyal throughout his rugby career. The Cap he was deservingly awarded at BMO field was a fitting moment for Canadian fans to remember the many special memories he provided them over the years.
Charles Jones played for Canada on one occasion, coming on as a replacement against the United States, in Victoria, on May 10, 1987. He was selected to the Canadian squad for the 1987 Rugby World Cup, in Australia and New Zealand, but he did not play in any of Canada’s three matches. He played his club rugby for the Toronto Welsh and he played for Ontario for a number of years; commencing in 1984. Charles was a versatile player, comfortable at either outside half or fullback. He also spent time with the Canadian Sevens program.
Finally the spotlight shifted to a man known for his rugged style of play. Flanker Andrew Wilson played his club rugby in Ontario, for the Oakville Crusaders. He played rugby in high school while in New Zealand, as well as with Hawick, in Scotland and professionally with Doncaster, in England. He played his only test match for his country, coming on as a replacement for Adam Kleeberger in the Barclays Churchill Cup match in Chicago, against the United States, on June 21, 2008. Andrew played for Canada at both Under 19 and Under 21, as well as against Scotland “A” and Argentina “A”. He remains involved with the Ontario Blues of the Canadian Rugby Championship, and is thrilled to have received his official national team Cap.
Just as the steady march of talent continues to flow into Canada’s national team program, The Canadian Rugby Foundation will be continuing its Cap presentations at events across Canada.
Please contact us today, to find out how you can support the development of rugby in Canada.
Email Matthuw Ronald Jones at: firstname.lastname@example.org