A Ladysmith teen selected to Rugby Canada’s Under 19 (U19) team is hoping to make an impression at a tryout later this month for a travel roster bound for Europe.
Kyle Joe, 18, has been playing the sport for the better part of eight years and will fly to San Diego for what is the biggest opportunity of his young athletic career.
“It’s to prove ourselves that we want to be on the tour coming up,” said Joe of the opportunity.
Joe’s B.C. coach is also the national coach and during the summer he played in Canada-wide tournament attended by several scouts.
The combination of the two factors led to the 5’10” and 230 lbs Joe, who currently plays the hooker position, receiving an invitation for an U19 tryout and landing a spot on the team.
Over the course of the six days between Dec. 28 and Jan. 4, Joe will participate in teamwork exercises , drills and play in a two-tier game against the United States.
“For me, it’s just another try out. As soon as I step out onto that field I’m ready to perform,” he said.
“We’re going to start out strong because it’s the battle of the north.”
Those selected for the U19 team will travel to Europe in the spring where they’ll play Wales, England, Ireland and Italy.
Father Marvin Seymour grew up playing rugby and got his son involved in the sport.
“He’s a good team player,” Seymour said. “He would rather do all the work and off load it (the ball) at the proper time so his teammate can score the easier try.”
Joe can still remember the experience and rush of his first rugby game.
“I knew I was going to enjoy playing rugby from my first game. As soon as I got to hit someone I enjoyed it, as soon as I scored I enjoyed it,” he said.
“I just loved the physically and aggressiveness of the sport.”
When he turned 16, Joe said he started to get more serious about rugby and the chance to turn pro.
By that point he had already played on B.C.’s provincial team since U14 and had captained his regional team since U15.
He was on the roster for Rugby Canada’s U17 team and travelled to Las Vegas with the Elite Youth 7s U18 team where he helped them capture a division title.
Seymour said his son has a great intuition for what’s happening on the field.
“He can see the play and what’s happening and where he needs to be,” he said.
“He keeps his head up and he knows where he needs to put his body and make the tackle.”
Off the field, Joe has his sites set on attending the University of British Columbia next fall where he wants to enroll in First Nations studies.
He currently volunteers at the local community centre with youth.
“I enjoy working with the kids,” he said.
His advice for youth who are thinking about playing rugby is to “get a bunch of your buddies out and just play.”
“As soon as you’re on the field you mind just takes you to somewhere else,” he said.