Another season is nearing for the Portage Junior Wolves rugby program, and they couldn't be more excited to get things underway.
Head coach Nathan Peto says they have teams for all age groups between five and 13, with children eleven and over being able to participate in contact rugby. Peto says he can't wait to get things underway.
"We're always really excited to get the kids out on the field. It's a new sport to a lot of the kids here in Portage. When they get out there and try it, we've found that they love the game and the club atmosphere we put on," Peto explains. "I look forward to every time we practice or have a game because the kids are always learning about a new sport and having fun."
The head coach adds their first practice goes down today.
"Thursday at Republic Park on field 23, we're going to have our first practice, and for our first practice, we always welcome people that are thinking about it but want to try it out before they sign up. At 6:00, we'll have an opportunity for kids to try out rugby, throw the ball around, and play some tag games. It gives them a feel for what rugby is, and if they like it, we hope they sign up."
Peto says this is only the second year of the club's existence, but he notes they've started to build a rugby community around the area already. He says last year they had 30 kids involved and adds they're looking to bring that number into the 40s this season. The coach outlines the teams involved in their league.
"We'll play in the Westman league. So, we'll be up against teams like Brandon, Minnedosa, Souris, and Dauphin. These are different teams that we haven't played in the past."
Peto says no matter how many players they get from a specific age group, they should be able to put a team together.
"The league is very flexible. We basically just match up numbers. We really want to keep kids the same age and the same size when they're playing against each other. So, we adjust to what the other team has. You can see anywhere from five per side to ten per side. We also customize the field size at this age because it's all about fun and learning the fundamentals of rugby."
For anyone on the fence about whether or not they should give rugby a try, Peto has this to say.
"Worst case scenario, you come out, play some tag games, have some fun, and throw the ball around. One thing we do really well with the junior wolves program is making sure kids are comfortable, making sure they're having fun, and we make sure they're very active. They'll definitely come away with some new friends."
You can sign your child up for the Portage Junior Wolves Rugby program here.