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Otago Rugby Club wants to bring back sport’s glory years

Efforts are being made to resurrect rugby in Powell River.

Otago Rugby Club junior development coordinator Jack Beardmore said that he’s trying to return the rough-and-tumble sport to its former glory.

“We’ve got a high school team going, here, and what I’m trying to do is kick start rugby in general in Powell River again.”

The spotlight shines on rugby next Saturday, Aug. 31, when a combined side consisting of Otago and the Comox Kickers host the Nanaimo Hornets in a First Division exhibition game.

The game at Cranberry field includes post-game festivities at the Otago clubhouse.

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Opening kickoff is 12:30pm.

The purpose of the game is two fold: to spark interest in rugby, and to raise funds for junior development, as all funds raised on the day will go directly to Brooks high school rugby.

Beardmore said there is plenty of room to grow the game in the city.

“Our school team was actually doing quite well,” Beardmore said. “And I just want to try and build on that and see if we can’t get our club back to a viable entity again.”

In the 1980s, Powell River was a rugby hotbed, Beardmore noted: “We were the best team on the North Island for four years running.”

The challenge in recent years is people leaving Powell River and the number of sports to choose from in the city.

“Just making people more aware of it, I think, is the No. 1 thing that we have to do,” he said.

Beardmore is also hoping that next month’s Rugby World Cup in Japan will spark even more interest in the sport.

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