In the Summer of 2022, Thunder Rugby embarked on a very successful tour to California, taking part in the LA 7s Invitational Tournament.
Covering 14 days, the tour included 39 players in two U18 boys teams, one U18 girls team and one U16 girls team. The teams played in two tournaments, competing in over 36 games of Rugby. Through the exciting Tournament play, one of the U18 Boys teams battled to successfully win a Plate, while the U18 Girls team secured the gold as the top team in their division.
With over 80 per cent of the team hailing from various First Nation backgrounds, the trip was as much about celebrating heritage as it was sport. Players on the tour came from across BC and Western Canada and included Indigenous representation from: Gitga’at First Nation, Kwakwaka’wakw, Haida, Nuu-Chah-Nulth, Gitxsan First Nation, Rolling River First Nation, Cree Metis, Sto Lo First Nation, Squamish First Nation, Sumas First Nation, Saanich First Nation, Inuvialuit, Cowichan First Nation, Lilwat First Nation, and Tl’etinqox First Nation.
The 2023 New Zealand tour will be the Program’s second International tour, as they hope to build off the thrilling experience in California.
“Going to New Zealand with our Thunder Rugby team is a dream come true. Confidence in who we are and where we come from is a key component of Thunder Rugby, and Aotearoa embodies cultural pride and rugby ethos. Our youth accepted the challenge of our 2022 California tour and came back the better for it, on and off the field, and made some lifelong friends doing so! We will continue to use the philosophy of Numwayut, or we are all one to guide us!” – John Lyall, Kwakwaka’wakw, Director of Thunder Rugby