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Youth rugby program ends with a jamboree

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The Parkland Pirates youth rugby program put their skills on display at their home jamboree, Sunday at Kin Park, the new rugby pitch at the Vermillion Park Sportsplex.
It was the fourth jamboree of the season and organizer Gerald Lopez said the young players are quickly learning the ins and outs of the sport.
“The kids are now really starting to know the aspects of rugby. They are moving forward and having fun,” he said.
“None of them had ever seen a rugby ball before. But now, they’ve picked it up so much, that they’re running for it.”
When the program first started, the emphasis was on learning the game. But now the children have a little bit of knowledge, they are starting to get competitive when it comes to results.
“All the kids are learning, but as you can see on the field, they are picking up on the results. They are scoring tries. They know what it is now,” Lopez said.
Overall, Lopez is pleased with the first year of the program, noting they were originally hoping for about 45 players and ended up with more than 60.
“So it was overwhelming. I can’t help but thank the coaches and the parents, the volunteers and the players. None of this would happen,” he said.
The Pirates’ jamboree was held in conjunction with the high school 7s jamboree, which was Sunday morning.
Sunday was the final jamboree for the youth program and the last high school jamboree is Tuesday in Brandon.
Following that, the focus will shift to the regionals in Winnipeg, Saturday and Sunday.
According to Lopez, all the regions in Manitoba will put together a team to compete in more of a tournament style competition.
“It is past that learning stage. It is competitive, but I’m confident with our kids,” he said.
Lopez said there will be about 30 teams taking part in the different age groups, which includes 11U, 13U, 15U, 17U and 20U. The Pirates will be represented by teams in the 11U and 13U categories.
The season comes to an end following the regional competition in Winnipeg.
As for next year, Lopez said, learning from this year, they already have some ideas to build on, to help grow the program.
“And I’m thankful for all the sponsors. If it wasn’t for them, none of this would be happening,” he said.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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