RO and University of Guelph Athletics announce partnership

June 05, 2018


University of Guelph Athletics partner up with Rugby Ontario's High Performance program to support junior program and provide access to state-of-the-art facilities.

(GUELPH, ON) - Rugby Ontario is extremely excited to announce a new partnership between its High-Performance program – the Ontario Blues – and University of Guelph Athletics Department. 

This three-year partnership will provide Rugby Ontario with key infrastructure needed to continue enhancing its focus on the support and development of provincial athletes, via the world class resources offered at the University of Guelph.

This agreement will provide Rugby Ontario access to the University of Guelph’s facilities for various games, practices and camps. These facilities include UofG’s brand new, state of the art, athletic Centre which houses their gym space, classrooms and weight rooms, as well as access to their various grass and turf fields.

One of the most exciting elements of the partnership is the creation of multiple Ontario Blues competition series. The first series of 2018 will see the Ontario U19 Blues face off against USA Rugby’s High School All-Americans East program. This series takes place from June 28-30, 2018. The second series of 2018 will be the Cross-Border Series presented by the University of Guelph. This series takes place from July 25-28, 2018. Over ten Ontario Jr. Blues teams will be involved in the competition along with the Eagle Impact Rugby Academy and other age-grade teams. There will be over 500 athletes involved in this series, all of whom will be staying on campus for the duration of the series.

Rugby Ontario and the University of Guelph are both thrilled about the opportunities that will result from this extensive partnership.

“Rugby Ontario is thrilled to establish a partnership with the University of Guelph in support of our High Performance program,” said Paul Connelly, Rugby Ontario High Performance Manager. “The combination of world class athletic facilities, accommodation, food services and the support from all administrative levels has a massive impact in helping our young athletes achieve their full potential. This summer's Elite Competition Tournaments will showcase some of the best rugby players in North America.”

“It is with great enthusiasm that we announce this partnership with Rugby Ontario,” said Scott McRoberts, University of Guelph’s Director of Athletics. “Both our organizations share the same commitment in the pursuit of excellence and supporting the development of our athletes in the best possible way. We have a rich history of rugby on this campus and this partnership will only benefit both parties and the development of Rugby in Ontario going forward."

Rugby Ontario is enthusiastic about partnering with a top-notch post-secondary institution, which will not only be a place for training and competition, but also an avenue for the program’s athletes to learn about being a student-athlete. The partnership also coincides with Rugby Ontario’s efforts to expand their summer academy program which had tremendous success in its inaugural year.

“As home to one of the top University rugby programs in the country, we look forward to expanding this partnership as we work together in developing our Western Ontario Winter High Performance Academy,” said Connelly.

There has also been an expression of enthusiasm from the Guelph Gryphons Rugby program.

“The University of Guelph has some of the best facilities in Canada,” explained Colette McAuley, Head Coach of the Guelph Gryphons Women’s Rugby program. “To be able to train and compete in an elite environment like this is hugely beneficial for the overall development of our Rugby Ontario athletes as they work towards discovering what their next opportunity in rugby might be.”

“The opportunity to bring multiple Rugby Ontario programs together into one centralized location is a huge step forward, said Cory Hector, Head Coach of the Guelph Gryphons Men’s Rugby program and Assistant Coach for both the Ontario Blues Senior Men’s team and the Ontario Arrows. “For the high school students who are interested in pursuing a post-secondary education, having the chance to step onto a university campus while competing in something you’re passionate about is a great way to get a glimpse of what life is like at the university level.”

More details surrounding the Ontario Jr. Blues competition at the University of Guelph will be announced in the coming weeks.



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.

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The University of Guelph is home to some of the most successful varsity programs in the history of Canadian university sport. With over 800 student-athletes representing 30 varsity teams, Gryphon Athletics has become one of the most comprehensive athletics departments in Canada. In 2017-18, 103 Gryphon athletes attained league all-star status, 39 of whom earned All-Canadian status, while Gryphon teams accounted for three national championships and five conference titles.

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Kevin Baxter

Communications Coordinator

Rugby Ontario

(647) 560-4790 x 1006


Andy Baechler

Media Relations, Communications & Sports Information

University of Guelph Department of Athletics

(519) 824-4120 x 54128