Rugby Ontario Announces 2017 Hall of Fame Inductees

October 05, 2017


2017 Hall of Fame Inductees 

(Whitby, ON) - Rugby Ontario is excited to announce the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame class of 2017. This group of individuals and one team have contributed a tremendous amount to the Ontario rugby community and will receive a well-deserved recognition at the 2017 Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Dinner. 

Honored by the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame Selection Committee as the fifteenth group of inductees are Bob Barrow, Barb Di Nardo, Steve Gray, Pearse Higgins, Kyle Nichols, Bill Stuart and Balmy Beach 1st XV 1980-81.

The Class of 2017 will be honored at the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Dinner on the evening of Saturday November 25th, 2017. The ceremony – in conjunction with the Rugby Ontario Awards evening – will be held at the Maple Banquet Hall in Mississauga, Ontario.

For guests that wish to attend the dinner, tickets can be purchased, either individually for $100 or in tables of 8 or 10 ($90 per person) online at:

When purchasing tickets, please indicate any group you wish to be seated with. We can then ensure all guests are seated together where requested.

Rugby Ontario also has an accommodation arrangement at a discounted rate for Studio Suites for overnight accommodation on Saturday November 25th at the nearby Marriott Courtyard and Residence to the Maple Banquet Hall. The link for this booking, which is available until October 27th is:

Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame, Class of 2017 - Fast Facts:

Bob Barrow

·Established the Brock Rugby Football Club in 1978

·Coached U17 and U19 Club teams from 1980-2000

·Won numerous titles at Brock High School, coaching both boys’ and girls’ rugby from 1975-1997

·Led 6 UK rugby tours for Brock HS and 3 Brock RFC club tours from 1975-1997

·Co-founded the AA Rugby Festival, which has grown into an OFSAA event

·Won Barbarian Cup in 1980 with Brock HS; large accomplishment for a smaller school

Barb Di Nardo 

·Started playing the game in 1989 with the Toronto Saracens

·Started the Queens University program in the fall of 1991 with 150 girls at tryouts in the first two years

·Helped establish the process that would result in women’s rugby becoming an OUA and very quickly a CIS sport

·Started the first women’s rugby team in Saudi Arabia while living there between 1993-96

·Was a coach, player and administrator with Gaye McPherson in the Toronto Barbarian women’s founding year in 1996

·Served on the RO Board of Directors leading junior development in the 1990’s and helped organize the early incarnations of minis rugby in the province

·Through her work at Newtonbrook Secondary School starting in 2009 she helped establish the early foundations of the TIRF program

·Barb has been a fundraiser, coach, recruiter and mentor helping grow the TIRF program and advocating for these young people from our priority neighbors

·Barb has been a strong advocate for players across the city introducing them to rep level coaches and selectors

·Barb is in her 8th season coaching Newtonbrook girls in both Fall 7s and Spring 15s

·She has been a leader in delivering Rookie Rugby training to hundreds of teachers, volunteers and student coaches to help expand the rugby footprint in the city

·Barb has shaped countless young women’s lives with her approach to coaching and mentoring – best exemplified by her 2016-17 Newtonbrook SS (TIRF) girls winning the OFSAA Sportsmanship award

·Barb started the first minis program in Toronto in 2006 which became the Toronto Saracens minis

·Barb worked with Dave Williams on the Saracen/Scottish minis rugby collaboration in 2009-10 which resulted in the founding of Toronto City Youth Rugby Club in 2012 where she continues to be an executive

Steve Gray 

·Totals: 47 international caps, three World Cup appearances (87’, 91’, 95’), one 7s World Cup appearance (93’)

·Captained both the Canadian XVs and VIIs team on numerous occasions

·In 1986, Gray set the Canadian record for most tries in a game with three

·In 1984, Gray played for the Canadian 7s team in Hong Kong and earned his first Senior Men’s cap with Canada against the USA

·In 1982, Gray represented Canada on the Under-19 team

·In 1983, Gray represented Ontario’s Senior Men’s team

·Member of the Ottawa Irish 1st XV 1986-1992 which was named to the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame in 2015

·Representative honors with the Eastern Ontario and Ontario U19 teams

Pearse Higgins 

·In 1970, made entry into refereeing after a career with the Toronto Irish (now Markham)

·Member of the Ontario Referee panel in 1980, refereed many games at the branch and provincial level

·Refereed provincial titles including:Carling Cup,McCormick Cup, and OUA Finals

·Promoted to the Rugby Canada Referee panel in 1983 – officiated National Championships at various age grade levels

·Officiated at the international level including World Cup qualifying games for Japan and Uruguay, as well as Australia in a friendly match

·Past member of the Rugby Canada Board of Directors, Rugby Ontario Board of Directors, Rugby Canada Referee and Laws Committee

·Also served as North America representative for NACRA (now NAWIRA), as well as various advisory roles for coaching and selection of match officials in Canada

Kyle Nichols 

·Kyle was a member of the Canadian National Senior Men’s team from 1996-2002, where he played in the 1999 World Cup

·Was a co-captain with Al Charron in 2000 and scored four tries in one game vs. Japan

·Played with the Senior Men’s National 7s team from 1995-1998

·Represented Ontario in various age grades from U16 – Senior Men’s in the early 90’s

·Member of the Balmy Beach RFC (1989-1991, 1996-Present; 2004 and 2005 McCormick Cup Champion), member of the Ajax Wanderers Rugby Club (1991-1996)

·Member of the Guelph Gryphons Men’s Rugby team from 1994-1996 – named Division 1 All-Star in 1995-96

Bill Stuart 

·Worked tirelessly to develop rugby in the Niagara region for the past 45 years, both in Hamilton and Grimsby, and for the Branch Union

·Director of the Niagara Rugby Union from 2011 to present

·Coach with Grimsby from 1992 to present and with EC Drury High School from 1984-1990

·President of Hamilton Hornets RFC from 1982-1984

·Played provincial rugby with Ontario from 1976 to 1979

·Captained the Hamilton Hornets from 1973 to 1978

Balmy Beach 1st XV: 1980-81

·1980 – Unbeaten regular season

·1980 – Carling Cup Champions

·1981 – Unbeaten regular season

·1981 – Carling Cup Champions

·The Balmy Beach team from these two years helped to build the foundation of the current program – Men’s teams in the Premiership, Academy teams in the Toronto Rugby Union, Women’s program and Junior rugby program


·Formed in 1999 to recognize, honor and celebrate individuals for their outstanding achievements and contributions with Rugby Ontario and the Ontario rugby community, the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame is housed online, and is accessible with a click of the mouse as part of the Rugby Ontario internet network

·To date, 72 individuals and two teams have been inducted into the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame, with six additional individuals and one team in November 2017

·For more information, visit


Rugby Ontario is the provincial sports governing body responsible for the organization of rugby in Ontario. Our mission is to establish a stronger identity for rugby in Ontario by promoting the sport’s core values and by fostering a culture of inclusiveness and excellence on and off the field of play.

To learn more, visit


Dylan Meredith

High Performance & Communications Intern - Rugby Ontario

647-560-4790 x 1012