Rugby certainly flourished on the East and West coastlines but it was in central Canada, in Ontario and Quebec, that the game took hold.
The first recorded game was played in Montreal among Artillery soldiers in 1864. The same year Trinity College, Toronto published a first set of Rules for the playing of the game of rugby football and 1868 the Montreal Football Club became Canada’s first club.
The earliest game played in British Columbia on the Western coast was between a team from the Royal Navy and the land forces on Vancouver Island. It was to be another ten years before the first game was played on the mainland and in 1889 the British Columbia Rugby Union was formed.
It is clear that from the outset that the military on both sides of the Atlantic played a large part in the development of rugby in Canada.
Relationships across the ‘Pond’ were cemented after World War 1 and in 1919 a Canadian Services team played in Europe against clubs and organizations from England, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
The formation of the Rugby Union of Canada took place in 1929 and there followed in 1932 a first tour by a Canadian team to Japan. After a number of different guises the Union was renamed Rugby Canada and incorporated in 1974. Maybe Canada’s greatest assets, its size and diversity, are also a great hurdle for those trying to organize rugby on a major scale. Canada also endures a harsh climate in the Winter months and the population is relatively low and dispersed.
Nevertheless Canadian rugby has arrived on the World Stage and women’s rugby, in particular, is consistently amongst the strongest in the World.
Turning to the Canadian Armed Forces it is recognised that rugby is a relatively new sport. While there are players with different levels of experience throughout the country, only one base, CFB Petawawa, has a full team that plays in a senior men’s league in Ontario.
The past couple of years have seen many more players graduating from the Royal Military College Kingston who have played at the University level. Individual skill levels range from college to senior men’s leagues to provincial teams, all of which are getting better by the year. Additionally there are now several members of the Armed Forces who have played for Provincial teams competing in the Canadian national championships.
|BRENT MCINTYRE||FLY HALF|
|THEON TE KOETI||FLY HALF/CENTRE|
|CONNOR SEVERIN||SCRUM HALF|
|JESSE LE BLANC||SCRUM HALF/WINGER|
|JEAN-PHILIPPE TARDIF||UTILITY BACK|
|RICAHRD GARCIA||FULL BACK|
|MR JAMES MACKENZIE||TEAM MANAGER|
|MR BLAKE EDWARDS||HEAD COACH|
|MR ROBBIE TURK||ASST. COACH|
|SGT NICHOLAS FARYNA||ASST. COACH|
|MR BRYAN RAY||REFEREE|
|MAJ NICOLAS HAZLEDINE||PHYSIOTHERAPIST|
|CPL LINDSEY MULLINS||ATHLETIC TRAINER|
|MCPL SANDRA EIS||ATHLETIC TRAINER|
Mr. Blake Edwards is the head coach of the Canadian Armed Forces Rugby team. He has a teacher’s college background along with formal rugby coaching training and has gained his experience with both new and established teams and clubs. As a player he turned out for Trent University from 1996-2000 and has since continued to play senior rugby.
In 2008 Blake was the head coach of the New Brunswick U20 champions Fredericton Loyalist and went on to coach Charlotte County Bulldogs RFC to become Provincial champions in 2010. Most recently a number of his players have represented Provincial teams and the U19 Canadian Rugby Championship team.
Blake is involved with Rugby New Brunswick—a good place for a coach.