New Brunswick Selects Tour – Bridge the Gap Fund

NB SelectsThe Bridge the Gap Fund was able to help the New Brunswick Selects women tour to Ireland through a contribution to their tour. As tour managers Troy and Kim Dixon wrote,  “The Bridging the Gap program provides a fantastic opportunity for young players to experience international travel, train and play in areas where rugby is a primary sport. In our case, allowed a group of young women to see our National athletes compete at the highest level. It also helped to provide a bigger fan base at the tournament to support our NSWT. On tour the girls were able to hold a training session at Blackrock College with Tony Smeeth, play 3 matches vs Athy, Connacht Development and Ulster Development and attended 2 days of World Cup matches. Thanks to Francois, they were able to meet with the members of our NSWT after the Wales match. It was fantastic tour for many reasons and we are beginning to plan for a 2019 tour.”

Letter to Canadian Rugby Foundation from NB Selects

BC U18 Tour to Ireland

BC U18 toured Ireland in August in part funded by a grant by the Canadian Rugby Foundation’s Bridge the Gap Fund.  The Boys U18 team defeated all three Irish teams Mullingar RFC 34-0; Bective Rangers 26-5 and Leinster 30-19. The Girls U18 team defeated Munster twice 22-10 and 26-17, they also defeated Leinster but lost to French side Launguedoc .Continue reading

Bridge the Gap Fund – Saskatchewan Boys U18 Tour

The Canadian Rugby Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to support the Saskatchewan Rugby Boys U18 Tour to a tournament in the USA, the Maryland Youth Rugby Festival. This grant was from the Bridge the Gap fund which is aimed at the transition of high school players to club and university rugby programs through International rugby tours. Read more about the tour below and if you wish to read more about the Bridge the Gap fund and how to donate, please click hereContinue reading

Bridge the Gap Fund – Atlantic Canada U18/U19 Tour to Ireland

Bridge the Gap Fund Helps Atlantic Canada u19 and Newfoundland u18 tour to Ireland May 2017

The u19 team played 3 games : 2 wins  (Old Christians Cork u20 and North Kildare u20) and a 2 point loss to Cork Con u20 (one of the best clubs in Ireland). The u18 team played 4 games and lost to Cork Con, Midleton, Skerries and North Kildare.

The cost to the players for 9 days in Ireland was $800 after the CRF and co-sponsors subsidies were taken into account. We stayed in budget hostels, bought no gear, and players paid for food.

There was an immediate recompense for Canada as Jack McCarthy, in his first year of rugby ,was called up to Canada u20 for the Uruguay World Rugby Trophy. The Rock u19 team won bronze at the recent Junior CRC behind BC and Ontario. The u18 team will play at Nationals in a week.

An objective of the trip was to create a bilateral relationship with clubs for on-going tours home and away.

Cork Constitution have agreed to this and their u18 team will travel to St John’s in May 2018 and the Atlantic u19 team will visit Cork .

Skerries are interested in a similar relationship and have fine under-age teams. Dundalk who visited St John’s last week have  also agreed to a similar relationship.

The Atlantic u19 team is an integral component of the Rock pathway and tours like this will attract the best players from the region.

On graduation from the u19 program the Rock have had good retention for the senior team and have provided multiple players to Canada recently (Parfrey, McMullan, Keys, Keith, Heaton, Baillie).


Canadian Rugby Foundation Funds 2017 BC Rugby U18 Tour to Ireland

The Canadian Rugby Foundation is partially funding the 2017 BC Rugby U18 tour to Ireland from its Bridge the Gap International Tour fund. Funds have also been approved for a Newfoundland tour the following year. You can help support these tours by donating online at:

BC Rugby media release

BC Rugby is excited to announce that funding has been awarded by the Canadian Rugby Foundation to invest in a significant change to BC Rugby’s Provincial XVs (Fifteens) Pathway for both boys’ and girls’ teams.Continue reading

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

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.