After a two and half years absence, rugby has tackled its way back into the Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School (PSO) sports scene.
Kameron Taylor, the school’s First Nations Support and PE teacher, is the head coach of all four teams at the school – junior girls, junior boys, senior girls and senior boys.
“My love for sports and my love for rugby at this school,” he explained is why rugby is back on the scene. “I want to see PSO sports and athletics improve even more because growing up here, I was involved with four sports in my high school years. A lot of my co-students would do three or four sports as well.”
One of those sports Taylor was involved in with was rugby. He said the rugby program was most likely cancelled due to no one being open to coaching or no one knew the basics of the sport. Taylor also didn’t tackle trying to coach it last year due to focusing on being a first-year teacher.
With the team’s rugby sevens season finished already, Taylor and the rugby players will be focused on the upcoming rugby 15’s season starting in the spring (sevens is played with seven players on each side for halves that are seven minutes long, while rugby is played with 15 people per side for 45 minute halves).
“The program’s goals are more recruitment and hosting more games at the school and travelling a little bit more. We played Williams Lake a lot and we started beating them near the end of the season and now we want to play Prince Rupert, Dawson Creek and Kamloops,” said Taylor. “It’s recruitment and getting as much exposure to the game to these kids as possible.”
Taylor and another teacher who will be helping out with the teams are trained with safety to teach players how to tackle and be tackled properly.
“We teach these kids to go with their strengths on how to take someone down three times the size of them. You tackle them by the ankles, don’t try to hit them dead-on, you’ll break in half,” he said. “As for knowledge, [to] the kids who haven’t played before – most of our kids haven’t played before and now we have kids continuing to play from what they’ve learned and they loved that little first taste of winning the last couple of games, they really enjoyed their time playing rugby. Therefore, they’re signing up in the spring.”
Taylor said five girls and five boys have already decided to join the team based on interest. He said having classes come out and watch the team play on the school’s backfield (now with padded outrights) has given exposure to the game to many of the students. He said the students seemed to enjoy watching and cheered on the players, especially during contact.
He also mentioned the senior girl’s team may find themselves in Scotland for a trip in a year and a half with a combined Williams Lake team if they can secure the funding.
The team has its practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Taylor is also working on developing an off-season conditioning program.