Vancouver Highlanders embody our city’s rich rugby tradition and the fortitude of its players, providing a premier destination for athletes to excel and grow under expert guidance.
Rugby Union brings out the best in those who play it. From the first time you experience the sport you are somehow bound to it, forever. For two centuries, men from all walks of life battled together and bonded. Each willingly gave a professional hand up to their younger mates, who in turn paid it forward.
In the mid-1990s Rugby Union abandoned its amateur roots and embarked on an era that fundamentally changed the sport. Some of the camaraderie, support and connections that were hallmarks of the old way were lost. In its place, a culture of haves and have-nots emerged. Professional teams struggled with budgets and performance-related pressures; all too often prioritizing short term results over long term gains. In that wake, the most important piece of the puzzle – the player – was overshadowed.
Vancouver has a deep, rich rugby history where, not long ago, legendary teams such as the British Lions and All Blacks travelled weeks by steamship just to test themselves against select local sides. In the 1950’s Vancouver twice vanquished the vaunted Lions. Today, robust university and club systems thrive in the most beautiful, temperate city on Earth, where play goes on year-round. Literally hundreds of thousands of present and former rugby players call Vancouver home, eager to see that past glory revived.
The not-for-profit Vancouver Highlanders and international Rugby Players Challenge in which we will compete are founded upon our Ten Commitments. Our mission is to give rugby back to the players while engaging the local community to support and enhance their professional development. We believe that model will in turn elevate the level of competition in North America.
So, if you share our vision, we invite you to join us, work hard, have some fun during a summer in Vancouver and experience Rugby at its Best.
Ralph D. McRae
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The Vancouver Highlanders believe in competition, be it competing in the classroom, the workplace or on the field. We rely on competition and competitive people to drive those around them to be their best. In rugby, more competitive games mean more competitive development.
Simply put: iron sharpens iron.
Rugby changed my life for the better. I have seen it do the same for countless men and women who I have been fortunate enough to manage, coach and compete alongside. Through that process, I learned a simple truth: Sport is a part of life’s journey, not its destination.
The Vancouver Highlanders Rugby Club was founded “to advance the personal and professional development of the person through rugby union”. We quite simply want the people who work with us to leave better for the experience. If that means embarking on a professional playing career domestically or abroad, that’s great. If it means earning caps with your national team, wonderful. If that means finding a better career opportunity as a lawyer, engineer, tradesman, fireman, policeman, doctor, etc., while continuing to play at a high level, we are here to help you do that too.
Should you decide to join us, you will work hard to be the best you can be at this game and hopefully become better prepared to take on whatever else life throws at you. Our Ten Commitments are not hollow promises, they are the foundation of our program. We understand how important it is to you to have access to advanced strength and conditioning training and excellent coaching. We know that it is critical for you to receive great medical and physio support. We appreciate the difference between practicing on natural and artificial turf. We get that you need to know that we always have your back in all aspects of life and competition. When you read our Ten Commitments you will note that – as in any fair bargain – they are reciprocal and conclude with your promise “To make the best of this opportunity”. Our expectations of, and promises to, you are clearly set out in black and white.
Lastly, there is no place in the Americas with a better rugby culture than Vancouver. No one can instantly create the history, support networks and environment that have for decades existed here. That solid “rugby infrastructure” is a critical component of what we offer; not to mention the chance to spend your summers in the most beautiful city on the planet!
If this intrigues you, I invite you to reach out to our team so that might answer any questions you may have.
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