A Thunder Rugby camp in Haida Gwaii in 2018. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

A Thunder Rugby camp in Haida Gwaii in 2018. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

Thunder Rugby offering free training camp in Abbotsford for Lower Mainland’s Indigenous youth

Selecting 24 youth for Rugby 7s teams, tour to New Zealand for 2022 World Cup

Thunder Rugby is coming to Abbotsford in August to offer a free day camp to Indigenous youth as part of their BC Summer Tour.

The Indigenous-led organization features former national-team players Bobby Ross of the Songhees Nation, and Phil Mack of the Toquaht Nation.

“A rugby tour embodies everything that is good about sport,” Ross recently said in a Canadian Rugby Foundation newsletter. “You bond with teammates and make friends for life. You get to test yourself against great players and absorb their culture. It is a soul and life enriching experience.”

They will be selecting 24 youth – 12 girls and 12 boys, born between 2004 to 2007 – to make up their Rugby 7s teams.

These teams will travel to New Zealand to watch the Canadian Women’s team compete in the 2022 World Cup, and will be hosted by a Maori village during their stay.

The summer tour will help the Thunder Rugby evaluate young athletes across the province, as they visit Prince Rupert in July, then Shawnigan Lake, North Vancouver, Abbotsford, Kamloops and Prince George through August.

Abbotsford’s camp will take place at Yale Secondary (34620 Old Yale Road) on Wednesday, Aug. 18, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. A meet-and-greet will be held shortly after from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 31929 Mercantile Way.

The camp is free, but participants must be registered with Rugby Canada for insurance reasons. The Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (ISPARC) will pay the cost of the insurance.

Click here to sign up for the camp, and here to sign up for BC Rugby insurance (select BC, then Thunder Rugby from the club drop down list).

Email Alana Cook (acook@isparc.ca), the Fraser Region’s ISPARC coordinator, for a code to pay for the insurance. Any further questions can be answered by John Lyall, director of Thunder Rugby, at jlyall@thunderrugby.ca.

The organization has started a fund with the Canadian Rugby Foundation, with the goal of making the summer tour annual.

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