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From the Saracen Press

First Under-17 Saracen Team Set to Begin

Posted on 2001-06-22 by Agustin Louro

For the first time in Saracen history, there will be an opportunity for boys aged 15 and 16 to compete with opponents of their own ages.

For at least twenty years (based on the plaques on the Junior of the Year trophy), there has been an under-19 team representing the Saracens. Often times, players as young as 14 and 15 were forced to line up opposite men three or four years their senior for lack of a more suited competition. As a result, many would-be first division leaders were drawn away from the game; a consequence which has no doubt hurt Canadian rugby from the grassroots all the way up to the international level. Thanks to the inception of the under-17 competition, such players will be more gently introduced to club-level rugby; and predictably thus more likely to keep playing and improving their skills.

Within the club, under-19 (and for a brief period in the late 90s, under-18 and under-20) has led to players emerging to form the foundation of the club. Players such as Clark Olson, Gordie Wenz, and Andy Wilde excelled in junior rugby and went on to be the mainstays of the first division squad for many years. Today's generation of top players also sharpened their skills in the junior rugby competition; most recently the likes of Brian Hill, Brian Collins, Steve Raimondi, Conrad Ferrell, and others. It is hoped that the inception of the under-17 team will expand the pool from which top players can rise.

Although there is not yet a fixed schedule for the under-17s as there are not enough clubs participating in Southern Alberta, the Saracens will likely partake in four or five matches this summer. Trainings will take place on Tuesday and Friday nights, beginning on June 26 at 7:00pm. This training will be followed by a barbeque at the Saracens clubhouse. The cost for the season for under-17s and under-19s is $75 and players will be provided with a t-shirt, not to mention the superb coaching courtesy of junior rugby graduates.