Kids get chance to try rugby at summer academy

Kids got the chance to try rugby at the Minor Rugby Academy this summer. (WINKLER ROOSTERS RUGBY)

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Kids in Winkler got the chance to try out a new sport this summer at a rugby academy.
Winkler Roosters Rugby offered a Minor Rugby Academy to children that ran from May to July.
Organizer Adam Porte plays rugby out of a Winnipeg club and got interested in the sport from a very young age.
“You don’t see it much over here but I’ve always had a curiosity for it when I was younger,” he said. “When I was in my mid-20s I went over to Australia and I got to play a little bit.”
For the past six years, Porte has been playing with the Winnipeg Wasps.
The Minor Rugby Academy was previously run through Rugby Manitoba, but this year the program was run by Winkler Roosters Rugby.
Porte said the program wasn’t well supported in the past, and decided this year to just take it on himself and partner with local businesses to bring the sport to the city.
Porte said the camp was a bit slow picking up at the beginning of summer, but definitely got rolling by the end.
“I’m expecting big numbers next year,” he said. “I hear a lot of good things from the parents, especially in a community that’s completely unfamiliar with rugby. It’s really good to hear.”
About 30 kids registered, 20 in the under 12 category and 10 in the under 7 category.
Porte said he is hoping the kids that took part in the rugby academy will keep the interest in rugby going and rugby will eventually spread to the high school level.
“From there I’m hoping a senior mens and womens club will start in Winkler at some point,” he said. “It’s mostly about growing rugby in the area.”
Porte said the camaraderie of the sport is second to none. “It’s accepting of every body type, every personality…” he said. “You’ve got a place on the rugby field at all times.”
“It’s a hooligan’s sport played by gentlemen, and soccer is a gentleman’s sport played by hooligans,” he added. “It’s just the camaraderie and the physicality of the sport that seems to build relationships.”
Porte said the way rugby players interact with referees is also second to none. “You’ll never see a rugby player talk back to the ref ever as opposed to every other sport where you can potentially have a temper tantrum,” he said. “There’s a lot of respect. After the game everybody shakes hands and everything is left on the field. I’ve never seen anything quite like that before.”
Next summer, Porte plans to bring the academy back to Winkler and potentially to Morden for some game play.

Kids got the chance to try rugby at the Minor Rugby Academy this summer. (WINKLER ROOSTERS RUGBY)

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