Steve Bennett Reports on Trip to Dominican Republic and Sets Up Go Fund Me for Dominican Rugby
SFU Rugby tries to tour every two years and this year saw us off to the Dominican Republic after previous tours across the Eastern Provinces of Canada, China, Texas, UK and Bahamas to name a few.
Obviously, being a rugby traditionalist I abide by the rules of what goes on tour, stays on tour, but this tour was a credit to the organizer Darren Brown and the members from 6 other clubs that joined us. Nobody died amidst some decent attempts, some accidental and deliberate injuries were noted, but all character building and some unruly rookies fell into line by tours end.
The reason I write this is more to do with the story that developed within the story and the passion of the rugby players in the D.R. Notably, those on the national team. They are working hard to become an associate member of World Rugby and are one win away from winning their RAN (Rugby Americas North) tier and moving up the pecking order. Their biggest claim to fame so far is a win over the Bahamas, ranked 70th in the world, but a big scalp for the D.R.
Their player pool is quite deep and ranges from rookies to seasoned vets like most leagues, but has within it some hidden gems that would grace the field of any BC Premier team. Wingers that are much faster than those I’ve seen in the BC leagues, power house props that get around the field like #8’s and all have learned to pass and catch balls that have absolutely no grip on them whatsoever. Balls that are rarely dropped!! They also hit like freight trains and then help you up.
The National Team is currently coached by a former SFU player Colin Brown who resides in the D.R as an International School Principal/Administrator. He, like his players is still in rugby for the love of the game. Colin asked me to spend an afternoon with the National Team forwards. A chance I jumped at because the enthusiasm for rugby with these guys is contagious and I’d witnessed some of them school the touring side a few nights before on a very hard field that they can only afford to partially light. Basically, one half has light and the other doesn’t. A nightmare for our touring referees Darryl Lucas (SFU) and Marcus Treacy (Scribes) but they managed.
I basically, spent the afternoon working on the technical aspects of rucks, scrums and lineouts and the body mechanics therein. The total equipment for the National Team amounts to 6 extremely well worn balls and about 40 cones, but they are different colours! Thank heavens for small mercies. In order to travel to games the guys will spend a days wages for local games and up to a month's wage for a game that involves a flight. Hardly fair for such an enthusiastic bunch.
So, if you’re still with me, I’d like your help to raise some money and purchase some equipment for them. I’d really like to see our Province adopt these guys and help them out as much as possible and in time bring them to BC to play for a season as individual players with one of our clubs or even as a National Team. All much easier said than done as many of them have jobs they cannot afford to leave, but want too! They’re not choosy and will even accept used gear. After all, that’s all they’re used too.
Click on the link below if this is a story you’d like to be part of, whether it be short or long term, the benefit to the proud and eager players in Dominican Republic will be massive! Feel free to contact me personally if you have gear to pass on or would like to be more involved.https://www.gofundme.com/rugby-gear-for-dr-national-team
[ed. currently the fund sits at $925 of $2K goal]