The BC - NZ Connection

August 10 2011

G.P. Vanier Grad and Williams Lake Grad Starting Props This Weekend in Auckland Under 19 Championship: Game Streamed Live

posted Aug 10 2011
[ed. Auckland are 19 hours ahead of us in BC. So by my calculations if the streaming starts 12:30pm on Saturday that would be 5:30pm on Friday.]

Two BC props Jake Ilnicki (UVic) and Noah Barker (Rowing Club) are in the starting line-up for the Auckland Under 19 Championship Final this weekend playing for the College Rifles team that toured BC last year. The College Rifles defeated Grammar Carlton to get to the final where they will meet Papatoetoe. The game will be streamed online at this link: Live streaming

Barker graduated from Courtenay area high school G.P Vanier in 2010 winning the Norm Hill “Blood and Guts” award for his play in football and rugby. He was also a member of the Rowers U19 championship team that went undefeated in the fall of 2010, they facilitated his transfer to the College Rifles team in Auckland.

Jake Ilnicki is from Williams Lake Secondary and played for UVic in the 2010/2011 season. He helped BC win the U16 nationals in 2008 and was also part of the Canadian team that went to the Millfield tournament in 2009. Both players will return to play in BC this fall.

The Auckland Rugby Competition is the probably the best U19 club competition in the world so these two Canadians should be very proud, as should the BC rugby communities that developed them.

Bruce Watson an 18 year old rugby player from Sidney BC left Feb 15 to play rugby in New Zealand for 6 months

[ed. we encourage club scribes to send us stories about their youth players going abroad as part of their development plan. We wish Bruce Watson all the best.]

by BC Rugby News staff writer
posted Feb 19 2008

A young Victoria Rugby Player is travelling half way around the world to pursue his passion. Bruce Watson an 18 year old rugby player from Sidney BC left Feb 15 to play rugby in New Zealand for 6 months. Bruce fell in love with rugby when he was introduced to it at age 15 by Don Burgess at Parkland secondary School in Sidney. The same year Bruce was a key component of the Velox U-16 team coached by Bob Love which lost the provincial Final to Capilano's .

Bruce has since gone on and represented Vancouver Island on the U-16, U-18 and the U-20 Junior Tide programs as well as winning a silver medal representing BC at the National Rugby Festival in Burnaby having been coached by Roger Robinson, Craig Slay and John McMillan.

Unfortunately Bruce’s High school Program folded with the retirement of Don Burgess and to continue with his rugby he has played 3 seasons with the Velox U-19 team being named captain and most valuable player last season. Bruce has also been practicing with the Velox Men’s team under Winston Stanley for the last three years having started for the Division 1 men’s team and also dressing for the elite team.

Bruce’s Velox U-19 Coach Aaron Frisby a New Zealander helped arrange the opportunity for Bruce to play for the Southern RFC Colts (U-20) team. The Southern Club plays in the Otago RFU in Dunedin on the South Island The Southern RFC Colts has a policy of bringing in a couple of promising young players each year to help teach and grow the game world wide.

Tim Belcher the Southern RFC Colts coach States “We are open to accepting players of obvious ability who will benefit from being immersed in a rugby culture”. This year Bruce will be joined by player from England and another from Seattle who has also been recommended to Mr. Belcher as players who have the potential to play for their countries. “The boys will need to adjust to intensity of the training and the pace of the games will be a stretch in the beginning but they will grow into it”.

Actual competition begins at the end of March so Bruce and the other imports will have 6 weeks of hard work to start to acclimatize to the new surroundings. We hope Bruce will be sending BC Rugby News occasional updates about his experiences in New Zealand and we wish him best of Luck

Pemberton Holmes
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