Directors from Rugby Canada and Shawnigan convened on Wednesday to sign a Memorandum of Understanding
targeting the National U-20 Men’s and Women’s Programs. The agreement sets out a number of objectives, including
bringing national teams to train at Shawnigan.
A historic partnership is fostering rugby’s roots on Vancouver Island. Rugby Canada and Shawnigan Lake School are entering into a formal agreement that will build on decades of friendship and cooperation.
“We’re really happy to formalize this agreement,” smiled Gareth Rees, Rugby Canada’s Director of Commercial and Program Relations and member of the IRB Hall of Fame. A veteran of four Rugby World Cups, Rees has himself trained on Shawnigan fields in advance of international competitions, adding “This has been a huge part of our preparations.”
While Shawnigan is excited to bring Rugby Canada’s athletes and coaches to the school, the accord has upshots for all local rugby fans and players. As part of the new MoU, Rugby Canada has pledged to not only run national training camps at Shawnigan, but also to participate in training sessions for the local community as well as with the Thunder Indigenous Rugby Program. A Men’s U20 test match vs. the USA is also planned for June, 2019, with similar fixtures in development for 2020 and 2021.
“This partnership is a source of great pride for us,” says Shawnigan Headmaster Richard Lamont, who also pointed to the school’s developing support of the Canada Sevens tournaments in Vancouver and Langford as evidence of Shawnigan’s commitment to all levels of the Canadian rugby landscape.
The MoU signed on Wednesday is not a commitment of funds. It runs through August, 2021.
In recognition of Shawnigan’s contributions, Rugby Canada will emblazon the Men’s and Women’s U20 jerseys with the Shawnigan logo, with National Senior Team members Djustice Sears-Duru and Dustin Dobravsky – both Shawnigan grads– on hand on Wednesday to showcase the new look. “That jersey represents a lot,” says Rees, adding “We don’t take that honour lightly.”