It only takes one spark to ignite a fire.
At least that’s what Steve Bennett is hoping.
Bennett is a die-hard rugby fan who has been active in the sport for the past 17 years as a proud member of the Dogs Rugby Football Club based in Mount Pearl.
Rugby is a sport played only on the east coast of the island, with four established clubs in operation in the greater St. John’s area with the Dogs holding bragging rights as the defending provincial club champions.
Bennett, a 32-year-old who hails from the east coast, is now living in Corner Brook where he’s immersed in the one-year geographic information systems specialist program at College of the North Atlantic.
Not wanting to be away from the rugby field for too long, Bennett was anxious to see who would be interested in the sport on the west coast when he pulled up stakes in September.
He found out that there were several other rugby players from the east coast from two different clubs who had moved to Corner Brook for work or school purposes so he was eager to get a group together on a regular basis to see if he could get a club going while he was on the west coast.
A Facebook Group called Corner Brook Touch Rugby has been formed and there are already 50 members signed up, some of them new players and the remainder a bunch of former players who have the itch to get back on the field again.
The first rugby session was actually held Oct. 1, but then the weather turned cold so Bennett and fellow Dogs member Steve Best decided to rent gym space at the Corner Brook Civic Centre annex and are now holding weekly sessions Wednesdays 8-9 p.m. for old and new players alike.
Zack Burrows of the Swilers Rugby Club in St. John’s and Sara Kearley of the Baymen Rugby Club in Conception Bay South have also moved to Corner Brook in the last little while and have been lending a helping hand in spreading the word that rugby has arrived in the city.
There are a dozen or so players who have been attending the sessions, but Bennett is hoping to get the numbers up to 40 with the game being played at 15 on a side.
He knows it’s new to people on the west coast, but he insists it’s a great sport that male and females would enjoy if they gave it a chance.
While rugby features some hotly contested matches on the east coast, Bennett is quick to point out this venture is more about bringing new people into the mix to enjoy the sport in a fun environment.
“It’s more so for some fun, to get out and meet some new people and also stay fit,” he said.
Anybody looking to give rugby a try or interested in obtaining more information can contact Bennett at email@example.com.