Canadian rugby star to host clinics in Whitehorse

Yukon Rugby is about to get a boost from one of Canada's star players. Canadian Rugby World Cup player Hubert Buydens is coming to Whitehorse to host clinics this weekend at the Canada Games Centre.

Yukon Rugby is about to get a boost from one of Canada’s star players.

Canadian Rugby World Cup player Hubert Buydens is coming to Whitehorse to host clinics this weekend at the Canada Games Centre. The event, which is presented by Rugby Canada, will also see rugby educator and former national women’s coach John Long perform a Level 1 coaching course.

“It’s a huge opportunity for us to take advantage of their knowledge and their abilities,” said Yukon Rugby president Darrin Sinclair. “It is something that has been offered to us by Rugby Canada and we definitely jumped on top of it as quickly as we could.”

Buydens, who has played prop for Canada at the last two Rugby World Cups, will host a development clinic beginning Friday at 6 p.m. at the CGC’s field house. The clinic will include non-contact drills for anyone 16 and over with no cost.

“I’m really excited to be heading to Yukon to help grow our sport,” said Buydens in a news release. “Development clinics are an integral part of getting players hooked on rugby while also allowing them to have fun with their friends. It’s a perfect way to introduce young children to the sport.”

Long will then host a day-long coaching course on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. It will focus on Rugby Canada’s participation initiative, Rookie Rugby, a non-contact introduction for youth. Members of Yukon Rugby have signed up for the clinic and will be certified to introduce the Rookie Rugby program to schools and into the communities.

“Hopefully that will self-perpetuate and we’ll have to start a feeder system so in five to 10 years there’ll still be rugby here,” said Sinclair.

The weekend’s activities will conclude with a Rookie Rugby clinic with Buydens from 9 to 11 a.m. Sunday morning at the field house. The clinic, which is for kids ages 6-14, will also be a chance for getting Buyden’s autograph.

“While this development weekend in Whitehorse gives an opportunity for young children to become involved in the game through Rookie Rugby and our development clinics, it also gives us a chance to grow our coaching outreach,” said Dustin Hopkins, Rugby Canada’s manager of national development, in the release. “Growing our sport, whether it be through players, coaching, refereeing or any other avenue, is critical to the continued development of rugby in Canada.

“This weekend in Yukon will allow us to continue that trend but more importantly push rugby into new geographical areas.”

Rugby Yukon, which was founded a couple summers ago, reintroduced the sport to the territory after an absence of more than two decades. The governing body entered a team, the Gold Diggers, in the Midnight Suns Sevens tournament in Anchorage this past June. Rugby Yukon hosts weekly drop-in games of touch rugby at the CGC on Tuesday evenings.

Rugby sevens, a modified version of the sport, will be played at the Rio Olympics next summer.

For more information contact Yukon Rugby’s Mike Fancie at 689-4866 or

Contact Tom Patrick at

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