Boys rugby will be featured at the Games and there are rumblings that there is some initial interest in getting a boys program started at the high school.
“There is definitely talk of a boys team with boys wanting to play and I think the talk is a little stronger this year,” said Andrew Llewelyn-Jones, a co-coach with the W.R. Myers Rebels girls rugby program. “I encourage any of the boys that are around that if they are interested to come out and watch the games themselves Wednesday if they are interested to see what the game is like first hand and also support the girls.”
The boys rugby competition goes today starting at 5 p.m. on the south field at Ken McDonald Memorial Sports Park and local rugby coach Andrew Llewelyn-Jones is hoping spectators will take the event in and fan the flames even further for interest in the sport.
“The boys there are four teams involved. We’ll play a round-robin between the four team and then we’ll have a bronze-medal game and then the gold-silver medal game,” said Llewelyn-Jones. “The games will go every half hour with the gold-medal game at 8:30 with the bronze at eight.”
The boys’ field will feature two teams from the City of Lethbridge and two from the City of Medicine Hat.
“We had another team from Cyprus County, but they pulled out,” said Llewelyn-Jones.
Thursday’s slate for the Games will feature girls rugby competition, but with only three teams in a field of City of Lethbridge, City of Medicine Hat and M.D. of Taber. Games will start at 5 p.m. at Ken McDonald Memorial Sports Park south field with a round-robin followed by a gold-medal match at 7 p.m. approximately.
If the Games could serve as a lightning rod for interest in a boys program at W.R. Myers next spring, Llewelyn-Jones added the minimum number of players required would likely have to hover around the 20 mark.
“Twenty five would be ideal, but you have to make a start somewhere. When we did our first girls team in 2009-2010, we had 23 girls,” said Llewelyn-Jones. “I’m here to promote the game of rugby in Taber and if we can get the boys going as well, it’s great for the sport and I’d like to see it happen.”
Llewelyn-Jones added there is the coaching available in the community if a boys’ team were to take genesis at W.R. Myers.
“We have six coaches right now with the girls and if there were a boys team, we’d divide up the coaching staff for the boys and girls,” said Llewelyn-Jones. The Southern Alberta Summer Games matches will be played as 7s. “It’s 14-minute games with seven-minute halves and it’s a lot faster with a lot of running rugby when you are playing 7s.”