Rugby Ontario is proud to introduce its new regionally-focused U15 boys provincial representative rugby program, which will now operate as the Rugby Ontario Under-15 Regional Junior Development Program.
The Rugby Ontario Under-15 Regional Junior Development Program will consist of six teams. The six teams will be regionally based in locations across Ontario: Eastern Ontario (Ottawa), Toronto East (Oshawa), Toronto North (Markham), Toronto Central (Toronto), Niagara (Burlington), and Southwestern Ontario (London).
The program will be eight weeks long and will consist of the six regional sides competing against each other, as well as training individually.
With team identification and selection to be done at high school tournaments and club matches throughout May and June, the schedule for the Rugby Ontario Under-15 Regional Junior Development program will be as follows:
(Jun 22) Week #1 – Final tryout for each regional team (in each region)
(Jun 29) Week #2 – Team skill development sessions for each regional team (date could vary by region)
(Jul 6) Week #3 – Regional Festivals (2 Festivals East – in Belleville; West – in Burlington)
(Jul 13) Week #4 – Team skill development sessions for each regional team (date could vary by region)
(Jul 20) Week #5 – Regional Festivals (2 Festivals East – Kingston; West –Waterloo)
(Jul 27) Week #6 – Team skill development sessions for each regional team (date could vary by region)
Civic Holiday Weekend off for families to have vacation time
(Aug 10) Week #7 – Team skill development sessions for each regional team (date could vary by region)
(Aug 17) Week #8 – Provincial Festival held at Fletcher’s Fields
Rugby Ontario Executive Director Andrew Backer explains that the reasoning behind the introduction of the Under-15 Regional Junior Development Program is multi-faceted.
“First and foremost, this is a move that prioritizes developing the skills of our young athletes,” said Backer. “By creating a high performance program that emphasizes player development on a larger scale, we’re creating an opportunity for more than 150 young rugby players across our province to have access to high performance training that puts them on an improved pathway for provincial representative rugby down the road.”
“The benefit of switching to a regional-based program is two-fold,” adds Backer. “On one hand, the number of athletes receiving provincial-level rugby development will grow exponentially, while on the other hand, the elimination of air travel and lodging costs will cut the program’s fees by well over a thousand dollars per athlete. Athletes will continue to receive the high-level competition they’ve grown accustomed to facing, while also having the opportunity to be fully engaged in their club program as well.”
Each regional team will have one head coach and two assistant coaches, and will be overseen by Tom McLeod, the Under-15 Regional Junior Development Program Coordinator. McLeod is no stranger to the Junior Blues program; he served as the head coach of the 2013 U14 Jr. Blues team, as well as an assistant coach of both the U16 Jr. Blues (2011, 2012) and the U15 Jr. Blues (2010).
As the final plans are being put into place for the upcoming season, Rugby Ontario is currently accepting coaching applications for these regional head coach and assistant coach positions (please note that coaches will need to attend a NCCP Introduction to Competition course prior to the season, if they are not already certified.).
Applications, which should include a rugby coaching resume, can be sent to Rugby Ontario’s Manager of Operations & Administration, David Patterson (firstname.lastname@example.org). The deadline to apply is May 2.
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