Jack Smith heading for rugby stardom
by Ben Clarke
A local talent has got the nod from Rugby Canada in his quest to make the Senior National Team.
Lakefield’s Jack Smith will suit up for Canada’s Maple Leafs rosters for the upcoming North American Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) tournament taking place Nov. 9 and 10 in the Cayman Islands.
The NACRA will be hosting 12 men’s teams and eight women’s teams in what will be a valuable experience for
Smith and his Maple Leafs teammates as they will have the opportunity to showcase their talents.
“I played every sport growing up but rugby I liked the most,” said Smith.
“I like how it’s a team sport and it’s really structured. The team has to work together and of course the contact is a good part too.”
This tournament holds value in more than one form for the Maple Leafs program. Not only is it a prime opportunity to provide younger players the chance for some international experience but also an opportunity for the coaching staff to evaluate and identify talent for the Sevens World Series squads.
Canada’s Seven’s team has put together a strong team, as nine of the members, including Smith, won a bronze medal in the World Games in Cali, Colombia.
“That tournament went really well,” said Smith.
“We lost to France but we got second place. It was unreal.”
The team will be holding a five-day training camp in Toronto beginning today. The team will attend the Canada versus New Zealand Maori All Blacks game at BMO field Sunday before catching their flight to the Cayman Islands next Tuesday.
Although this will be an opportunity for Smith to show his skill to the Senior Team, the flanker has experience with national clubs, as he has competed in the under-17 and under-20 programs.
Smith began his rugby career in Lakefield but moved to Scarborough for Grade 12 to continue his athletic pursuit after Lakefield District Secondary School disbanded its rugby program.
“I started playing with Team Ontario’s under-16 team,” said Smith.
“When I was attending Humber College last year we were in Victoria, B.C. for a Seven’s tournament, which was held at the Centre of Excellence where the national team is based out of.
“I had a really good tournament there so I was invited to stay.”
Currently Smith is still living in British Columbia where he is training with the national program full-time.
“It’s a different lifestyle but I like it so far,” he said.
Following the tournament Smith will have little down time, as he will return to training in British Columbia.
In February he will be a member of the team when they make an appearance in Las Vegas for a tournament.
Smith says he plans on using the rest of the year to continue his development in an effort to make Canada’s National Senior circuit.
“I’m always trying to get bigger, stronger and faster,” said Smith.
Copyright 2010 Lakefield Herald Ltd.
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