Rugby Canada suspends rugby until 10 Apr 20 due to Corona Virus outbreak

15 Mar 2020
Due to the Corona Virus/COVID-19 health situation in Canada and world wide, Rugby Canada has directed its provincial rugby unions (BCRU for us) to officially suspend all rugby across the country.  This includes all practices and games for all interclub activities as well, until at least 10 Apr 2020.
Westshore RFC will comply with these directives for ALL activities for all programs (Youth, Junior, Adult) due to public safety. We will not know the consequences or the plan for the future with regards to schedules or playoffs, until such time that the regulatory bodies give direction in early to mid April.
We will keep our members updated through social media of further future developments. Both BCRU and RC links for this situation are listed below.

12 MAR 2020


With many developments over the last 24 hours relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, please read the following carefully.

  1. Inter-Club Activity within BC for March 14 & 15 is Suspended

While the COVID-19 risk remains low within Canada and British Columbia, all inter-club activity is suspended for this upcoming weekend.  This decision has been made in response to the concerns and well-being of all BC Rugby Members. This applies to ALL age-groups and divisions. Clubs may arrange supplementary training or inter-squad matches at their own discretion, maintaining safe and hygienic practices.

This cancellation gives us all an opportunity to practice self-care and BC Rugby will re-evaluate the situation early next week and provide a subsequent communication.

  1. Out of Country/Province Rugby Travel is Not Recommended to High Risk Countries/Areas

Yesterday, the World Health Organization announced that the COVID-19 virus is now considered at the pandemic stage.  We have been informed by Rugby Canada’s National Insurance Policy underwriters that this new status impacts all Members’ Emergency Travel Medical coverage. Specifically, since COVID-19 is a known pandemic, emergency coverage would not be considered unforeseen and therefore coverage would not apply and not be considered eligible at this point.  This means, all other travel insurance remains in place except for the scenario of a travelling member becoming infected with COVID-19 while on that tour.

Therefore, any Clubs or Associate Members with an out-of-country tour planned in the immediate or near future should review the Government of Canada’s Travel Advisories to find out if your destination is affected by Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and read the Safety and security, Entry/exit requirements and Health sections of the Government’s Travel Advice and Advisories. If you have any concerns or wish to discus the implications of this, please contact me directly via email or phone.

Any team currently on tour out of country will be contacted directly by Rugby Canada.

  1. Further clarity for Rugby in Washington State

In addition to our communication from yesterday, we are prohibiting any BC Rugby Club or Associate Member to take part in any rugby activities within Washington State while their event restriction remains in place.

  1. World Rugby Level 1 Referee Course planned for March 15 Cancelled

While we could modify the course to provide ‘social distancing’, we feel that it would compromise the learning experience. Therefore, this course is cancelled. We will aim to reschedule this and will be in contact with all registered participants to explore an alternative date.

All Clubs and Affiliate Members are asked to reinforce the following health advice to players, team personnel and spectators:

  • Wash your hands frequently (it is the single most effective way of reducing infection spread).
  • Practice other good hygiene habits:
    • do not touch your face/eyes/mouth with your hands;
    • cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough (ideally with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow);
    • restrict sharing of water bottles.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, e.g. tackle bags
  • Maintain good general health (eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, exercise in moderation).
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Contact 8-1-1 (HealthLink BC) or your health care provider for questions about your personal health situation.

BC Rugby will continue to monitor the situation, relying on the BC Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Washington State Department of Health, and the World Health Organisation and their published guidance.

Best wishes & good health,

Annabel Kehoe
Chief Executive Officer, BC Rugby

Westshore’s new Director of Men’s Rugby-Ray Barkwill

Ray Barkwill was born in Niagara Falls Ontario, taking up rugby in high school as a hooker while playing for the Niagara Wasps RFC senior men’s team through his summers. He made the Niagara Thunder regional team that competed in the Junior Rugby-Canadian Super League many times. At the age of 25, Ray completed his post secondary education in Physical Geography at Brock University in St. Catherine’s, Ont. Where he was both captain and MVP for finals leading the university’s rugby team to its 1st OUA (Ontario University Athletics) rugby championships in 2007. Ray ventured to Perth Australia to complete his post graduate studies by 2010, focusing on teaching skill sets. While down under, he played for the University of Western Australia (UWA) in Perth for 36 caps from 2009-2010, then represented Western Australia for 12 caps in regional action from 2010-2012. Ray was the first Canadian player to be selected for Super Rugby Union in 2012 with professional team Western Force out of Perth with 8 caps. He moved back to Canada in 2012, after completing his education, and catching the eye of Rugby Canada (RC). He debuted for his 1st cap for Canada verses Samoa in Nov 2012 in Wales at the age of 32. Earning 56 caps in total, with 44 starts as Hooker, scoring 5 tries before playing in his last game for RC by winning the RWC 2019 qualifier verses Hong Kong in France in Nov 2018. He was a member of the 2015 RWC in England as a player, and Captain for 2 games, before winning the RC Shield award for Most Inspirational Player in 2017. During these years he was also a member of the Ontario Blues in the Canadian Rugby Championships (CRC) from 2012-2018 for 34 caps and scoring 8 tries winning 3 CRC Mactier Cups. In 2015 he moved to Victoria, BC to continue his training with RC, while suiting up for Castaway Wanders for club level play. Ray for the 2nd time in his playing career signed for professional action with the Seattle Sea wolves for the inaugural Major Rugby League (MLR) action, winning back to back MLR Championships for 2018-2019. He signed with the Toronto Arrows before retiring from playing in Apr 2019. Ray next stepped into the coaching stage next as the Canada U18 Boys head Coach for a 3 game international series in Spring 2019, before assisting RC RWC 2019 team as an assistant coach. Ray currently is a teacher at Royal Bay High School in Victoria, and is engaged to RC NSWT Captain/Member Laura Russel (who is also a Velox Valkyrie alumni). Westshore RFC is very excited to announce Ray recently joined the Westshore Velox RFC Board of Directors as Director of Men’s Rugby in Jan 2020.  Welcome to the family Ray!!

Westshore Junior Players invited to Canada U18 Women’s TRG Camp

Westshore RFC is very proud of the 2 talented players in our Junior Programs invited for training by Rugby Canada for the National U18 Women’s Team.


Phoenix Skailes who grew up in Dawson City, Yukon until age 10: was invited to this camp at the young age of only 15 years old.  She started playing rugby for Westshore only 4 years ago, taking up her father James passion for the game who also is with Westshore.  She has quickly moved into a force to be reckoned with in the loose forward position in the Junior girls league: when asked why she plays the game, her response is simply “because I get to hit and tackle people!!”  She played on Junior Crimson Tide for past 3 years, and provincial age grade selections for the BC Provincial teams over the past 2 of years.  Where she was selected as Captain for the U15 team.  She was very humbled and excited to have received the invitation letter from Rugby Canada to attend selection camp in Vancouver in Nov 19.  She stated sheepishly, she would simply show up and do her best being the youngest person at the camp, and was honoured to be allowed to develop her playing skills with this quality level of  players.  She is definitely one to keep your eye on wearing RED in the future!!


Zoe Williams has been a graduate through the Westshore RFC Junior program for the past 6 seasons, since she started on the U14 teams.  She attended Belmont High School where she was coached by Westshore RFC Valkyrie Legend Charlotte Haley.  A talented front row, learning the Dark Arts of being a Prop (As there is no better position): She has made Crimson Tide for 4 years, along with selections for BC Provincial teams.  She travelled to England with the BC squad in 2017 for a tour gaining experience and international exposure.  Zoe was selected into the Rugby Canada Developmental Academy for the past 2 years, honing her skills and developing for higher level action.  She started attending UVIC this year for studies taking Social Sciences and a Biology Major, while playing for their women’s rugby team.  Zoe was also invited for the Rugby Canada U18 selections tryout in Vancouver, making the team for her 1st Official tour with Rugby Canada. She stated “My favourite part about playing the game is the physical contact and aggression, but also the family and togetherness as well. No matter what team I’ve played for I also know I’m support by my teammates on and off the field.”

Westshore RFC’s Clay Panga growing the game worldwide

Westshore RFC’s Clay Panga continues to promote grassroots rugby locally and world wide.

Former Canadian International Clay Panga believes Howlers’ Tour embodies true spirit of rugby

Re-post of article above from Rugby Americas North Website.


When it comes to the game of rugby, Clay Panga has done it all.

Having immigrated to Canada from New Zealand as a child, Panga has become a mainstay in the Victoria, British Columbia and the Canadian rugby scene as a player, coach and volunteer.

After impressing selectors throughout his twenty-plus year sporting career, he won his first Canada cap against Uruguay as part of the Americas Rugby Championship in February 2016. Over the following 13 months, he won five more caps and scored two tries for his adopted nation.

On top of all the accolades he’s earned over the years, last fall he added an entirely new role to his rugby resume: global ambassador.

In 2018, Panga travelled to Nicaragua as part of a Canadian touring squad – the Dog River Howlers – whose work has made a lasting impact on and off the field.

The week-long tour provides quality opposition for developing sides and hosting community and social events to improve relations and share the best qualities of the sport. In addition to their volunteer work, participants partake in fun activities hosted by the nation. Some of the highlights over the years have included surfing, bull-riding and yoga along with coaching youth teams.

In addition to their volunteer work, the touring squad collected and transported more than 70 hockey bags worth of clothing, balls, supplies and other much-needed items to distribute within the communities. A generous donation was made by team referee Ian Godfrey, who gave six bags of kit which included 200 pairs of boots, plus an additional six bags of medical supplies which were gifted to a town devastated by a tropical storm in 2017.

This Saturday, Panga is set to land in Nicaragua for a second go-around and the 34-year-old says he couldn’t be more excited. He’s embodied the Dog River Howlers Rugby Club motto “it’s more than a game, it’s a way of life!”

So who and what exactly are the Howlers?

Named after the fictitious Saskatchewan community in the Canadian TV Show “Corner Gas,” the Howlers have made a name for themselves as global ambassadors of the game who spread the true spirit of rugby.

Dating back to 2009, more than 500 men and women from 11 Canadian provinces and territories along with 17 countries have played for the Howlers in 72 tournaments in nine countries. The Howlers have had 43 different coaches from 8 countries.

Since 2007, the Howlers have helped to raise more than $2,000,000 for many worthy causes.

Their fundraising initiatives have helped international and club teams including Rugby Canada’s National and age-grade teams, Philippines children’s rugby, Afghanistan youth and adult rugby, Rwandan youth and adult rugby, Lebanese club rugby, Fijian club rugby, Colombian adult and youth rugby.

Off-the-field, their philanthropic efforts have benefited KidSport, Canadian First Nations education, Multiple Sclerosis, Prostate Cancer, 2011 Haiti Earthquake victims, Cuban orphanages and Somalian refugees amongst other far-and-wide initiatives.

Rugby Americas North spoke with Panga ahead of the club’s departure to discuss his thoughts on the importance of the Dog River Howlers tour to Nicaragua for the greater good of the game.


RAN: What were the highlights from last year’s tour to Nicaragua?

CP: Being able to help people who are less fortunate than us, is always a highlight on these tours. Other highlights include getting to meet some of the Nicaraguan rugby enthusiasts and exploring their beautiful country.

From a coaching perspective working alongside Mandy Marchak and Brennan Marcoux definitely widened my view of the game. Mandy, as we all know, is an incredible human. She managed to collect and travel with 10 kit bags of donations for the Nicaraguan rugby community.

Our travelling referee Ian Godfrey also made an astounding contribution of 200 pairs of rugby boots!

RAN: From an on-field perspective, talk to me about the importance of a tour like this. Do the opponents find it valuable playing against a quality touring Canadian side?

CP: It is massively important and valuable for both parties. For the Nicaraguans they are trying to grow rugby in their country and struggle to find quality competition.

For us we get to bring a group of young up and comers together, train for a week under some high-level coaches in an environment that allows the cohabitation of fun and performance.

In the early years of the Howlers we were focussed on providing an opportunity for players on the fringe of the national program, this vibe has since changed and is mainly due to that need being filled by other great emerging development programs and the growth of invitational tournaments.

RAN: How important are tours like this one to the culture of rugby?

CP: For a young player these tours can open up doors and paint a picture of Canadian rugby that is genuine, authentic and positive.

Age grade selectors and University coaches keep watchful eyes on these programs as they want to see the talent coming out of the rural areas of Canada.

We have a lot of fun. Fun is what hooks us and keeps us engaged and inspires us to keep playing. Whether it is at club or for country, Howlers continue to give back to the game and that culture is vital to building good rugby players and more importantly great people.

RAN: What are your goals for this year’s tour?

CP: Enjoy, embrace and celebrate a program that continues to enhance the lives of those who are less fortunate yet have a shared burning desire for the sport of rugby.

Share an experience that will truly give some young Canadians an incredible perspective check at a time of year when it’s most needed (Christmas).

Howlers Touring Party to Nicaragua 

Men’s Team

Nanyak Dala – Victoria-Westshore RFC
Keagan Hall – Victoria-Westshore RFC
Thomas Isherwood – Calgary
Dreydon Martin – Regina-Westshore RFC
Viktor Meier – Germany
Sephyr Melnyk – Nanimo
Clay Panga – Victoria-Westshore RFC
Carlos Pestana – Colombia
Sawyer Schmyrko – Calgary
Adham Young – Calgary

Women’s Team

Kayleigh Bellows – Calgary
Sofia Brussoni – Calgary
Tiana Janfield – Calgary
Kira Katan – Mission
Tarah Kelly – Regina
Piper Logan – Calgary
Kylie Manser – Calgary
Kestrel Martin – Whitehorse
Alie Mimion – Calgary
Angie Olukumni – Calgary
Natalie Teteris – Abbotsford
Shalaya Valenzuela – Abbotsford


Nanyak Dala – Victoria / Saskatoon-Westshore RFC
Chris Isherwood – Calgary
Clay Panga – Victoria-Westshore RFC
Jen Ross – Abbotsford


Leo Lane – Regina

10 Grand Raffle-Draw 30th Nov 19

After a few years off, Westshore/Velox RFC are holding our third annual $10000 raffle.
Only 200 tickets will be sold and the winner will take home $10000!
$100 may seem like a lot of money but your odds of winning a $10000 are very high compared to other raffles/lotteries and be sure to partner up or get a group together to get in on as many tickets as possible.
These tickets always sell out very fast!!!

FB event link:



Was a great night of rugby at Westshore RFC, an amazing experience. With a combined team of Valkyries, CW, COW, Comox and UVIC players wearing BCRU jerseys taking on the Hong Kong National 7’s team in 4 games.  There was many Canadian National Senior Women’s team members, present representing for Team Vancouver Island side.  There was 4 games played with lots of speed and agility from both sides under the lights on a warm rainy night!!!    With longtime Westshore RFC sponsor Sizzling Tandoori providing meals for hosting after the game.

 Team was made up of the following BC/Canada members
Westshore Valkyries
  • Amanda Thornborough
  • Caity Mattinson
  • Clare Akuma
  • Erin Geddie
  • Elissa Alarie
  • Nakisa Levale


  • Laura Russell


  • Paula Simpson


  • Julia Folk
  • Britany Gardiner
  • Danica Pedrick
  • Sara Einarson
  • Sya Trafford


  • Sydney Burchnall
  • Nicole Gamm


Westshore is conducting a fundraiser!!!
1/2 side of organically raised Cowichan Beef!!
Only 250 tickets/$20 each…Going Quick!!!
Draw is 30th Nov 19
See Barbara Mervin on Thursdays at the club, 250-661-0974 or PM her to get your tickets!!

Westshore Junior Team Coaches 2019-2020 Season

Westshore RFC has an amazing Junior program with incredible coaching staff.  Resulting in many of our players making Canadian age grade teams, as they make their way into the senior ranks.  We are very proud to introduce our Junior Boys and Girls Coaching Staff for the upcoming 2019-2020 Season.