For the first time in nearly two years, high-level rugby games will be played at West Vancouver’s Klahanie Park this weekend.
The Capilano Rugby Club is hosting a full slate of games this Saturday (Feb. 5) as BC Rugby leagues kick back into action for the first time since March 2020.
“Everyone is very excited to play after such a long time off,” said club captain Chris Robinson, who is also a member of Capilano’s premier men’s team. “Even a few people have come back to the sport because they found they missed it with COVID, missing everything else. They've jumped back into rugby, so that's been great as well.”
When the club’s premier women step onto the field for a 12:45 p.m. kickoff against Westshore, they’ll do so as the defending provincial and national club champions. The last time to Caps took the field they won the 2020 BC Rugby premier women’s title and then went on to win the inaugural Canadian Rugby Club Championship tournament in August 2020.
They’ll have a lot of those same players back this year, with new head coach Demi Stamatakis taking over for An Hoang.
The premier men will also hit the pitch at Klahanie this weekend, kicking off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday against Pacific Pride, a Rugby Canada development team that plays out of Langford on Vancouver Island. The men also have a new head coach, with Rameses Langston, a familiar face from the North Shore high school circuit, taking over.
“We’re looking pretty strong, we’re pretty confident,” said Robinson. “We've had a few people come back from university rugby, which has helped, a few good, younger players. And we've got a really strong mix right now, so we're pretty hopeful that we're going to have a pretty good run this year.”
Spectator access to the indoor spaces at the club, including the grandstand and clubhouse, will be limited by provincial COVID-19 restrictions, although outdoor viewing areas will not be restricted. All players are required to be double vaccinated, following rules set out by BC Rugby.
Club members are excited to be hosting games again, said Robinson.
“It'll be a little sense of normalcy,” he said. “I know some of our older supporters are very much looking forward to it as well, as they've been somewhat isolated the last couple of years. We kind of pride ourselves on quite a family atmosphere, so it's kind of getting back to seeing some of your close friends and family and old teammates. A lot of people, not just the players, are kind of excited to have another day at our club.”
Here is the full schedule for games at Klahanie Park this Saturday:
11:15 a.m.: Chilliwack at Caps 3rd division men (top field)
11:15 a.m.: Chilliwack at Caps 2nd division women (Bob Spray field)
12:45 p.m.: Abbotsford at Caps 1st division men (top field)
12:45 p.m.: Westshore at Caps premier women (Bob Spray field)
2:30 p.m.: Pacific Pride Rugby Canada Development at Caps premier men (Bob Spray field)