The Canadian Rugby Foundation maintains a U20 Support Group Fund led by Dr. Pat Parfrey, former Rugby Canada president and Order of Canada member, it was created to provide a permanent endowment fund to reduce the requirement for U20 player contributions and to enhance the national U20 team’s preparation. There’s a partnership in place with Rugby Canada whereby they match Canadian Rugby Foundation contributions to ensure Canada has a well-prepared team going forward.
In 2020 we had the optimal Canada Men’s U20 program planned ( until COVID-19 struck) with a tour to Portugal in February, a camp or tour in May, x 2 World Trophy qualifier games v USA in June, and the World Trophy in September. That remains our preferred structure.
There was no World Trophy in 2021, but we held an excellent 8-day selection camp in Shawnigan Lake School. Reports on player enthusiasm, fitness, and skill were strong. We made all the arrangements for a 3-game Canada U21 tour to the UK, including a game vs. England U20. This was cancelled this month because of Omicron.
This forward planning is predicated on having guaranteed funds from the Foundation, matched financial support from RC, funding from World Rugby, subsidized use of SLS, and a small player contribution. We believe this program to be a primary building block for Canadian rugby together with the Pride and the Toronto Arrows. 27% of this year’s RWC squad played on our U20 teams in 2018 and 2019.
At the CRF we have a Canada U20 fund with greater than $1.1 million capital and the Captain’s Fund with $309,000 capital, the interest from both going annually to the U20 program. Rick Powers, former President of Rugby Ontario, this month has pledged $250,000 (paid annually over 10 years ) for the U20 Fund. This will be divided 60 % for the men and 40% for the women. We are very keen to find new donors as each million in capital provides $40,000 per year for the U20 team FOREVER.
For 2022 we plan a June U20 selection camp at SLS, together with the players who are now overage but who did not get to tour the UK. This will provide 2 top-class inter-squad games and will facilitate the evaluation of players in the Senior Pathway by the Pride and Senior team coaches. We are in negotiation with World Rugby to host a regional U20 tournament in August between Canada, Portugal, USA, and either Uruguay or Chile. The World Rugby Championship and Trophy will return in 2023.
With backing from the U20 Support Group Fund, it’s hoped that Canada will do even better next year with a new crop of athletes and some returning from this year’s campaign. We would like to thank the members of the committee who oversee the fund and spearhead the efforts to grow it: David Robertson, Andrew Purdey, Dr. Pat Parfrey, Mike Holmes and Bill Webb.
USE THE FORM BELOW TO DONATE TO THE U20 MEN’S FUND: