Being a smaller guy in his youth, Trainor admitted he felt fear after he swapped soccer for Rugby in high school. But he soon fell in love with the sport, playing alongside friends at St. George’s School in Vancouver.
“The friendships and the social part of it, that started in high school,” Trainor said. “That part sticks throughout adulthood. I’ve started rugby at a couple of different teams in my career, in different countries and provinces – and I immediately had 50 or 60 new friends!”
“I can’t say enough good things about my time at St. George’s School. They go out of their way to hire good people and give you those opportunities to thrive. I’m very lucky to have been given the opportunity to go to St. George’s because I don’t think I’d have got to this level without that. It shows, with a quarter of the [Olympics] team coming from St. George’s, the strength of that program.” Conor Trainor
From St. George’s School, Trainor’s Rugby career blossomed. Provincial appearances for BC at national tournaments left Trainor “pumped” and eager for more. Canada U20s came calling in 2008. He played at the University of Western Ontario, where he graduated with a degree in engineering, before heading back west with the UBCOB Ravens.
Trainor became a regular in Canada’s XVs and 7s squads over the next few years. After making his Senior XVs debut against Russia in 2011, he went on to represent his country at three Rugby World Cups and racked up 36 Test appearances over the next eight years. Of the eight tries he scored at Test level, two famously came against the All Blacks at the 2011 World Cup.
Shortly after Canada’s Men’s 7s team missed out on qualification for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Trainor got an opportunity to play professionally with Rugby Club Vannes and then USO Nevers in France.
“Playing professional was always on my radar. From the 2011 World Cup I started to get offers from France and the UK, so I always thought the possibility was there,” Trainor said. “It was one of the better decisions I’ve made. My time in France was amazing. I made lifelong friends. It was awesome.”
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It was an opportunity, Trainor said, that would not have come his way had it not been for Rugby.
“It’s just a totally different life experience,” he said. “I showed up to France on July 29, 2016. By July 30th I had 50 new friends. 30 of them French, and 10 of them knew the area intimately – knew where to go, knew the people.
“Through Rugby, I met all these amazing people. In a year I was there, the amount I was able to experience was wild. If someone moved for a regular job, it would take much longer to integrate into society. With rugby comes more experiences.”