Twenty-five rugby players united under the Highland Rugby Football Club banner were sent off in style March 7 at their farewell banquet in Fergus.
Members were to leave March 12 and will visit Bath, London and Cardiff during their tour of the United Kingdom. The team is playing four games during its eight days away against club and high school teams from the Bath and Cardiff areas.
The boys range in age from 14 to 16, and play rugby during the summer season for either Highland Rugby Club or Stratford Black Swans RFC.
The team was formed in the fall of 2009, after a discussion between Highland under-15 and 16 head coach Dean Brattan and Stratford head coach Jeff Wood.
The two, along with their four coaching staff (manager, Juli Brattan, assistant coach and trainer Steve St. Clair, assistant coaches Jose Mills and Don Swainson) and a group of parents, are taking the team on the tour as a means of developing their rugby and life skills in heartland of rugby.
Over 100 attended the send-off banquet, which was a chance for the boys receive their tour kit.
Team captain Josh Bald thanked the coaches, parents and everyone involved in making the tour happen.
In addition to Melville United Church, which hosted the banquet, club members recognize the sponsors, who made significant monetary and product donations that enabled the team to raise funds to help offset tour fees.
Highland Rugby is based in Fergus at Victoria Park. Boasting sides from under-8 to senior men and a women’s program, the club has become the ninth largest in the province.
The club draws players from Fergus, Guelph, Elora, Elmira, Drayton, Alma, Arthur, Rockwood, Grand Valley, Orangeville, Hillsburgh, Erin, Georgetown, Acton, Kenilworth, Ariss, Orton, and Morristown.
Registration has started for the 2010 season and more information can be obtained on the Club Website www.highlandrugby.com.
The club’s officials will be at the Fergus and Elora Leisure shows coming up.
Highland Rugby will also be hosting an open house at the Victoria Park field house on March 21 to show films of the sport and have people on hand to answer questions.
That event runs from 10 am till 5pm.