The Portage Wolves Youth Rugby program is gearing up for the new season. Club president Nathan Peto says they have a flag program for kids ages 6-10, and the intro to contact team is for children ages 10-13. Peto says the number of young athletes involved has improved greatly over the last few years.

"We started out with a Try Rugby Day a couple of years ago. It's a sport that has existed in Portage before, but we've been trying to bring it back for young kids," Peto explains. "We've had the opportunity to grow from 10 kids to 20 kids to 30 kids. We've seen some of our athletes starting to advance and qualify for provincial programs. It's really nice to see kids come and have fun, but also, if they really love the sport, have the opportunity to advance."

Peto says they will be playing in the Westman league (Westman Youth Rugby Association) this season, travelling to places like Brandon, Souris, and Dauphin while also hosting games in Portage.

He notes the older players in the program often can be role models for the younger ones.

"The one unique thing about our club is we do practice as a club. We have kids right from 6-13. We warm up together, and we do our cheer as a club, not by individual age groups. The older kids help the younger kids. We break up and practice in groups based on skill level. At the end, we close our practice as a club with all the kids again."

Peto says this can make things easier on parents if they have multiple kids who want to participate. For anyone who's unsure about the sport of rugby, Peto encourages you to come and give it a try.

"We have our first practice on August 31 from 6-7 at Republic Park. If you're interested, just come down. We can teach you the basics, and you get a chance to see if it's for you," Peto continues. "Parents often introduce their kids to sports they played when they were growing up, but to them, I would say kids do best by trying a lot of different sports and finding the one that is right for them. I'd be happy to show them a little bit about rugby, and if they like it, I'd be really happy to have them in our program."

Peto asks that anyone who would like to attend the first practice give them a heads up via email at, or you can get in contact with the club on Facebook.


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