Langford-based Rugby Canada is partnering with Yukon Rugby to deliver a high-profile series of public rugby clinics this weekend in Whitehorse, Yukon.
Canadian Rugby World Cup star Hubert Buydens will be heading up two clinics over the weekend while World Rugby Coach Educator and former National Women’s Coach Johnathan Long will lead a Level 1 Coaching Course on Saturday.
A pro football draftee who successfully transitioned to rugby, Buydens’ visit to Yukon comes on the heels of Rugby Canada’s RWC run in England, where he was singled out for being one of the workhorses of the forward pack that defends many of rugby’s aggressive open-play contests.
“I’m really excited to be heading to Yukon to help grow our sport,” Buydens said. “Development clinics are an integral part of getting players hooked on rugby while also allowing them to have fun with their friends. It’s a perfect way to introduce young children to the sport.”
Buydens will lead a Yukon Rugby Development clinic Friday evening from 6pm – 7:15pm before Long will head up the day long coaching course the following day. The weekend’s festivities will conclude Sunday morning with a Rookie Rugby clinic from 9am – 11 am. All events will take place at the Canada Games Centre Field House.
“We’re very excited to partner with Rugby Canada to bring high-level rugby to Yukon,” said Yukon Rugby president Darrin Sinclair. “Rugby is a sport for all shapes, sizes, ages and skill levels – there’s really something for everyone. There is huge potential for the sport to grow in Yukon and this development weekend is one way we’re expanding our operations.”
Yukon recently established its first rugby club since the mid-90s and competed in the Midnight Suns Sevens tournament in June.
The team, known as the Gold Diggers, organizes weekly games of touch and is also slowing moving into light contact drills and are always open to new players joining.
“While this development weekend in Whitehorse gives an opportunity for young children to become involved in the game through Rookie Rugby and our development clinics, it also gives us a chance to grow our coaching outreach,” said Dustin Hopkins, Rugby Canada’s Manager of National Development. “Growing our sport, whether it be through players, coaching, refereeing or any other avenue, is critical to the continued development of rugby in Canada.
“This weekend in Yukon will allow us to continue that trend but more importantly push rugby into new geographical areas.”
Rookie Rugby, which is presented by Honda, is Rugby Canada’s mass participation program that will reach every province within the next year. It is a non-contact, fun and safe introduction to the game for kids of all ages. The program is complete with a full rugby curriculum that is easy to implement and focuses on having fun and learning the basics of the game of rugby.
Buydens is a veteran of Canada’s Senior Men’s team and has competed in the past two Rugby World Cups. From Saskatoon, SK, Buydens has come from a small town to become one of Canada’s most recognizable rugby faces of the past decade. The 33-year-old has 39 test caps to his name.
The Rugby Canada/Yukon Rugby development weekend is open to the public, with registration requested for some events and media opportunities on Friday evening and Sunday morning. Full event details are available at https://www.facebook.com/events/174817369528540/.