James Bay launches youth rugby program

Under-16 and Under-18 squads expected to take to field this fall

The James Bay Athletic Association is looking for a few young men.

Victoria’s iconic rugby powerhouse is launching both a boys under-16 team and an under-18 squad this year.

The association has had youth programs on and off for more than 50 years, but this renewed effort is to develop a feeder system for both the men’s premier and Division 1 teams.

“I think the club is excited that we’re getting this back into place,” said Brad Underwood, who will manage the youth program.

“It brings in young athletes and exposes them to rugby and its culture, and hopefully they stick with the club.”

The boys squads will practice every Friday. Games are played on Sunday.

Underwood is working with B.C. Rugby to develop a new league for Tier 2 teams, which could have an interlocking schedule with squads from the Lower Mainland. The league is in the formative stages, but would help develop players to get to the next level.

“It’s our hope that we raise the bar on the competition level. It really doesn’t help much if the Oak Bay Castaways are beating teams 100-0. The more teams we have a different stages of development the better,” said Underwood, who has represented Canada in rugby at the international level.

James Bay’s two youth teams will be coached by rugby veterans Clayton Meeres and Nikyta Witkowski.

For more information, please phone Brad Underwood at 250-920-0508 or email youth@jbaa.ca.