In a unique display of international camaraderie the Williams Lake rugby community will welcome students and rugby players from Shropshire, England this July.
The guests, 44 students from the Adams’ Grammar School (AGS) in Newport, Shropshire, will arrive the evening of July 25 and leave July 28.
Rodger Stewart, a Williams Lake Rustlers member helping organize the tour, said it’s a testament to the fact that Williams Lake is becoming more widely known as a hotbed for the sport.
“Rugby in Williams Lake is experiencing some exciting times in both the high school programs and with the Williams Lake Rustlers,” Stewart said, noting the Williams Lake secondary girls finished fifth in the province this year, and the Rustlers won bronze at a 24-team tournament in May in Edmonton.
“While rugby is progressing at all levels in our community we continue to celebrate the successes of Kayla Moleschi as she plays around the world for Canada’s women’s sevens team and Jake Ilnicki, who leads the scrum for Canada’s U20 men’s team.”
The community’s youth rugby program has combined with the Rustlers to form two 15-a-side teams — a junior Williams Lake Rustlers and a group of younger high school students — who will host, billet and play against two squads of 17- and 18-year-olds from Adams’ Grammar School.
Games will be played the evening of July 26 at the Ottoman Drive Rugby Fields beginning at 5:30 p.m. with AGS’s second 15s taking on Williams Lake’s high school students, followed by the second game starting at 7 p.m. between AGS’s first 15s and the Williams Lake Junior Rustlers.
Stewart is inviting everyone in the community to attend the matches.
Additionally, the Rustlers are searching for billet families to host the athletes while they visit the community.
Stewart said they still have about 14 players who will require billets upon the group’s arrival.
Following the games July 26, Stewart said AGS players will be toured around the city, showcasing our resource-based community the following day.
“We’re hoping to go into one of the sawmills and have an overview of forestry in a community such as this,” he said. “For a group like AGS to become more familiar with a resource community in B.C. it should be great.
“This is going to be the smallest community they visit in Canada [on their tour]. They’re staying in major centres with the exception of Williams Lake.
“We hope when they come here, we’d like to be able to get them to develop at least a passing awareness and appreciation of what a resource-based community is like in B.C.
“And, we want to show that here, too, rugby is one of our passions.”
Anyone interested in billeting is asked to contact Stewart at 250-296-4295.