Local rugby player makes impact with provincial squad

Conor Sinclair represents Cranbrook while competing in rugby tournament in Vancouver in August

With some hard work and grit, local rugby player Conor Sinclair managed upgrade himself to make the top provincial U14 rugby team.

Sinclair, who was pencilled in to a lower tier provincial ‘B’ team—Team White—managed to impress coaches with the top tier Team Gold enough to crack the squad.

Team Gold romped through a tournament in the summer against competition from Newfoundland, Washington State and central Canada.

Sinclair’s squad managed to make it into the final, but lost out to the top-tier Team Blue, fielded by Ontario.

Even though Sinclair’s team lost, he still felt that the B.C. Gold squad had a lot of talented players.

“All teams were very talented, but I do think that Gold had a major advantage over other teams in the tournament,” Sinclair said.

The B.C. Rugby program had 60 U14 kids in total with two teams, while some of were going to play with the Newfoundland squad to even out numbers.

The whole week and a half event featured the tryouts before the tournament, and Sinclair worked did everything he could over the five-day practice schedule that kept him out on the pitch for up to six hours each session.

He had previously attended a rugby sevens tournament in Victoria, and was mentored by the Team B.C. coach for that event. When Sinclair began tryouts, he knew the coach would be watching him with close eyes.

“When we went into the six-hour days of training, he started noticing me a little more, I was working my hardest every day,” Sinclair said.

“To make it onto Gold, yeah, it was really cool.”

Sinclair will still stay involved at the provincial level with some more camps later in the fall down in the Lower Mainland.

As for rugby in Cranbrook, Conor’s dad, Sean Sinclair, who is a teacher with the school district, is hoping to get some after-school rugby programs going at Laurie and Parkland middle schools.

He’s hoping to get at least a rugby sevens team for boys and girls off the ground with an after school practice twice a week.

Those Grade 8 or Grade 9 students could also come out to Mount Baker rugby practices in the spring depending on what numbers are like, he added.

Any students interested in joining a rugby team at their school can talk to their athletic director.