“The Program”: Combine #1 Recap

November 21, 2018



On Saturday, November 17th, over 230 of Ontario’s top rugby athletes traveled to the Whitby Dome to participate in Combine #1 of the Rugby Ontario Winter High Performance Program. The purpose of “The Program” is to provide off-season development for current and potential provincial level athletes through integrated Core Skill Development and Strength and Conditioning Programs. These sessions are led by Provincial Coaches and Elite S&C experts from ETS (Elite Training Systems). Baseline testing for all athletes was administered by Kris Robertson and his Rugby Canada Strength and Conditioning Team. With Kris at the helm, all results will be documented on the athletes IPP’s (Individual Performance Plan) and made available to all Rugby Ontario and Rugby Canada programs. These tests will be repeated at 8 week intervals in an effort to not only monitor, but more importantly, motivate our athletes to help them achieve their goals. Nutrition Sessions rounded out the Rugby Canada portion of the Combine as athletes learned how to put “high test” into their bodies in an effort to maximize their training.

To complete an already jam-packed day, the athletes also had the opportunity to be instructed by some of Canada’s top senior rugby players and coaches during our “Position Specific” skill sessions. 

“What a day!” stated Rugby Ontario Manager of High Performance Paul Connelly. “To witness the enthusiasm demonstrated by over 200 of our very best athletes over 6 hours of training and information sessions was truly amazing.” Special thanks go out to all of the Ontario Age Grade Coaches, Peter Milazzo of the Toronto Arrows, Tyler Leggatt of Upright Rugby Canada, Bryan Armstrong (Head Coach of Aurora Barbarians), Brandon Kirkwood (Head Coach University of Toronto) and members of the Ontario Senior Women’s team who provided outstanding instruction to our future National Team players.

The event concluded with a presentation by Canada’s newest professional team the Toronto Arrows. Bill Webb (Co-Founder of the Toronto Arrows) and Coach Aaron Carpenter discussed the future of Major League Rugby (MLR) in Canada. It was noted that at the last home game for the Arrows (vs. MLR finalist Glendale) 21 of the 23 players dressed for the game came through Rugby Ontario’s age grade program. Our young Ontario athletes now have a direct pathway to professional rugby and of course our National Senior Teams.

Next up for our Program athletes is their first of five core skill sessions to be held on December 8th. In partnering with the University of Guelph and the University of Ottawa, Rugby Ontario is thrilled to be able to offer these sessions across three regional sites. “Developing partnerships with post-secondary institutions across the province is key for our program moving forward” noted Sean Medeiros – Rugby Ontario High Performance Coordinator. “Exposing our young athletes to the world class facilitates in Guelph and Ottawa not only enhances their athletic development but provides them an early opportunity to explore some of the top academic institutions in the country.”


The Ontario Blues program is the high performance representative program for male and female rugby players in Ontario. Rugby Ontario is represented at the provincial level by the Ontario Blues. The program includes representative teams from Under-15 to Senior in both Women’s and Men’s Fifteens and Under-18 Men's and Women's Sevens. Specifically, the program is designed to develop and showcase rugby players for Canadian representative national teams.


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 https://www.rugbyontario.com/


Dalton Finkbeiner 

Communications and Marketing Coordinator - Rugby Ontario

    647-560-4790 x 1006