Rugby Ontario 2019 Year In Review

December 30, 2019


Rugby Ontario Year In Review

December 30th, 2019

(WHITBY, ON) - It was a fantastic year for rugby in Ontario in 2019! As the New Year approaches, Rugby Ontario looks back on the year that was in 2019. Rugby Ontario would like to wish you and your family a Happy New Year!  We will see you in 2020!

Minor Rugby

To begin the year, Rugby Ontario ran seven, Growing the Game Workshops across the Province. These workshops focused on Age Grade Law Variations, upcoming Professional Development workshops, ways for clubs to share best practices with each other and the structure of 2019 Junior Competitions. Rugby Ontario plans to once again run a series of Growing the Game workshops in 2020.

Rugby Ontario also created and built upon the Rookie Rugby delivery partnerships with; Their Opportunity, MLSE LaunchPad, Scripture Union, Shape Up, True North Sports Camps & FitSpirit who all welcomed Rugby Ontario into their camps, programs and conferences to allow Rugby Ontario to share Rookie Rugby with their participants and partners.

Other highlights from the 2019 Minor Season includes: 

- Launched the ‘RO Development Group’ on Facebook to allow the rugby community across Ontario the opportunity to share resources and best practices among one another.

- Delivered the new Tackle Smart: Introduction to Tackle Workshop to youth coaches across the province, keep an eye out for introduction to tackle workshops near you in 2020. The Tackle Smart workshop is being used as an intervention tool for a national study by the University of Calgary.

- World Rugby launched the Activate Injury Prevention Program, Rugby Ontario has delivered one and will continue delivery in early 2020. 

On the field in 2019, 24 Minor Festivals were run across the Province. The minor rugby season ended with the Rugby Ontario Minor Festival, held at Victoria Fields in Whitby. The event featured over 50, U7, U9 and U11 teams, playing matches on multiple fields. 

In the fall, Rugby Ontario preformed an in-depth review of the 2019 season with a focus on the impact of the odd age banding. As a result of the review the age banding moving forward will be Even Age Banding. 

For a full breakdown on Rugby Ontario’s decision, click here.

 For a full recap of the 2019 Minor Festival and to find a link to team photos, click here.

Junior Competitions

During the 2019 season, Rugby Ontario ran regional competitions for Boys & Girls teams in the U13, U15, U17, and U19 age grades. 

In the U13 division, 49 Boys & Girls team participated in competitions. The league featured a 10-week regular season, with teams competing in regional groupings. Throughout the year, clubs participated in “Crossover weekends” where multiple teams would travel to a central location, to play teams outside their region.

The U13 season culminated in U13 Wrap Up Day, held at Fletcher’s Fields in conjunction with OWL Cup Day. In total, 28 teams participated in the Wrap Up Day Tournament. To end the day, U13 Girls players from Brantford & Guelph walked out with their respective Senior Women’s teams for OWL Cup and stood with them for the national anthem. 

In the U15 and U17 divisions, a total of 109 Boys & Girls teams competed in the respective divisions. In U15, there were 46 teams and in U17 there were 63. Both age grades ran regional, round robin style competitions from June until August. The two age grade competitions wrapped up at Junior Cup Day on August 25th at Fletcher’s Fields. Both competitions featured 8 Boys & Girls team who qualified for the tournament by winner their region or securing a wild card entry. Congratulations to all clubs that entered teams into 2019 competitions. Below is a full list of the 2019 Provincial Medalists. 

U15 Medalists

U15 Boys Gold: Crusaders Rugby Football Club

U15 Boys Silver: Ajax Wanderers 

U15 Boys Bronze: Kingston Panthers

U15 Girls Gold: Belleville Bulldogs

U15 Girls Silver: Oshawa Vikings

U15 Girls Bronze: North Halton Highlanders RFC   

U17 Medalists 

U17 Boys Gold: Crusaders Rugby Football Club

U17 Boys Silver: Oshawa Vikings

U17 Boys Bronze: Brantford Harlequins

U17 Girls Gold: Aurora Barbarians

U17 Girls Silver: Oshawa Vikings

U17 Girls Bronze: Toronto Saracens

The U19 division featured 18 Boys & Girls teams, who competed from June to August in regional leagues. The top two clubs in the East and West Divisions competed in the championship tournament. The U19 Girls Championship was held on August 10th at Fletcher’s Field. The U19 Boys Championship was held later on August 18th, hosted at the Oshawa Vikings Club.

U19 Girls Medalists

U19 Girls Gold: Barrie RFC

U19 Girls Silver: Oshawa Vikings

U19 Girls Bronze: Ajax Wanderers

U19 Boys Medalists 

U19 Boys Gold: Crusaders

U19 Boys Silver: Burlington Centaurs

U19 Boys Bronze: Aurora Barbarians

Fall 7s Series

In the Fall, clubs participated in the Rugby Ontario Fall 7s Series. The tournaments in the 2019 series were the TIRF 7s, Belleville 7s, Whitu 7s and the Q-Meta Cup. The series wrapped up at the Junior Club 7s Provincial Championship in Barrie. The two-day tournament featured 36 Boys & Girls teams from across Ontario, competing for the Provincial Championship

Each event featured Elite and Club divisions for U15 and U17, Girls and Boys teams. The goal of the series was to give players the opportunity to develop their skills in structured, competitive, sevens competitions. The series also provided athletes with a platform to be viewed and selected for branch, provincial and national sevens programs.

The Fall 7s Series concluded at the Rugby Ontario Provincial Championships in Barrie. The two-day tournament featured 36 Boys & Girls teams from across Ontario, competing for the Provincial Championship. Congratulations to all clubs on another fantastic 7s season. 

Provincial 7s Champions 

U17 Girls – Aurora Barbarians

U17 Boys – Aurora Barbarians

U15 Girls – Oshawa Vikings

U15 Boys – Crusaders RFC

For a full recap of all Junior Competitions, click here.

To view photos from Junior Cup Day, click here.

To view photos from U13 Wrap Up Day, click here. 

To view photos from the Girls Junior Club 7s Provincial Championship, click here.

To view photos from the Boys Junior Club 7s Provincial Championship, click here.

To view photos of all the Division winners from each Fall 7s Series stop, click here.

Senior Competitions

Ontario Women's League (OWL)

The Ontario Women’s League (OWL) is the top Senior Women’s League in Ontario. The clubs the participated in the 2019 OWL were the Aurora Barbarians, Brantford Harlequins, Crusaders Rugby Club, Guelph Redcoats, Niagara Wasps, Toronto Saracens, Toronto Scottish, and Toronto Nomads. The clubs were divided into two conferences: East and West. 

At the end of the season, the fourth-place team in each conference faced relegation. The teams will participate in the Women’s Intermediate Cup against the top teams from the Niagara Rugby Union and Toronto Rugby branch leagues for a chance to retain a position in the OWL next season. The Crusaders Rugby Club were automatically relegated due to forfeit limit. The Oshawa Vikings and the Toronto Scottish competed in the Intermediate Cup. 

All Senior Women’s Competitions wrapped up at OWL Cup Day at Fletcher’s Fields. The day featured four Cup Final matches: The Intermediate. Cup, The OWL 2 Cup, the OWL Bronze Medal match and the OWL CuP.

After three rounds of competition, the Brantford Harlequins and the Guelph Redcoats met in the OWL Cup Final at Fletcher’s Fields. It was a back and forth affair, with both teams holding the lead during the match. At the end of the match, it was the Guelph Redcoats who came out on top, winning the 2019 OWL Cup. Congratulations to both clubs on very successful seasons and a well-played final!

For a full recap of OWL Cup Day, click here.

To watch the OWL on the Rugby Ontario YouTube page, click here.

To view photos of OWL Cup Day, click here. 

Marshall League 

In 2019, the Marshall League adopted a new format. The league was made up of 16 clubs in Ontario (outside of the EORU). The clubs were split into two conferences: The East Marshall and the West Marshall. Each conference consisted of eight teams. The clubs in the Marshall fielded a 1st and 2nd XV for the duration of the season. 

At the end of the season, the East and West Conferences produced winners based on the performance of BOTH the 1st and 2nd teams (total points). Both 1st and 2nd team competition points will be counted equally towards an overall “Club Championships.” Seeding for the McCormick Cup was based only on the 1st XV Marshall standings. Congratulations to the East Club Champions, the Toronto Scottish and to our West Club Champions, Balmy Beach.

In the Marshall 1st League, the clubs played 14 rounds of competition. At the end of the regular season, the clubs were divided into two separate Cup Competitions. The McCormick Cup featured the top seven teams. The clubs were divided into two pools. After round robin play, the top two clubs in each pool qualified for the McCormick Cup Final. Six other Marshall Clubs who did not participate in the McCormick Cup competed in the Fall Cup. The competition was structured the same as the McCormick Cup. Marshall 2nd XV sides competed in the the Gee Gage Cup. The Championship is contested by Marshall 2nd League sides and Branch Union first teams. 

After three weeks of preliminary competition the three Cup finals were set. The Toronto Scottish and Balmy Beach would compete for the Gee Gage Cup. The Fall Cup featured the Crusaders Rugby Club and Barrie RFC. Finally, the McCormick Cup featured a rematch of the 2018 final between the Brantford Harlequins and the Markham Irish. All three Cup Final matches were played at Fletcher’s Fields on October 19th as part of McCormick Cup Day!

In the McCormick Cup Final, the Brantford Harlequins defeated the Markham Irish 22-17 to win the 2019 McCormick Cup. It was the second straight season the two clubs met in the final. In 2018, the Irish came away with the victory, ending Brantford’s quest for a third straight championship. In 2019, it was the Harlequins turn to play spoiler, stopping the Irish from winning back-to-back titles and winning their third McCormick Cup in the past four years.

For a full recap of all the McCormick Cup Day matches, click here.

To watch the match on the Rugby Ontario YouTube page, click here.

To view photos from McCormick Cup Day, click here.


Ontario Jr. Blues 7s Program

2019 was a busy year for Ontario Blues & Jr. Blues Programs. The year kicked off with the second year of the Winter Academy program, known as “The Program”. From year one to year two, the Academy almost doubled in participants. Due to the high engagement rate, The Program expanded to a regional model moving from one location to three (East, Central, West).

Next up for the High-Performance Program was the 7s season. The Ontario Jr. Blues 7s Program competed in tournaments in British Columbia, Florida (Tropical 7s) and Las Vegas. Various Rugby Ontario member clubs also competed in the tournaments. 

For a recap of the Las Vegas Invitational, click here.

For a recap of the NextGen Showcase in Victoria, click here.

For a recap of the Tropical 7s, click here. 

Ontario Senior Blues Program

The Ontario Blues ran a Senior Men’s and Women’s program along with a U19 boys team. The U19 squad’s season culminated in the Canadian Rugby Championships in St. John’s, NL. The Blues finished first during the round robin phase of the event, setting up a championship clash with the hosts, the Atlantic Rock. In a rain filled affair, the home side came out on top, giving the Blues the silver medal. 

The senior women’s program expanded in 2019, fielding a development side for the duration of the season. All season, the plan was to be prepared for the Eastern Canadian Championships, hosted in Quebec City from June 7th - 9th. Both the Senior Blues and the Senior Blues Developmental team participated in the tournament. The Blues earned a silver medal, falling to the hosts, Rugby Quebec, the finals. 

As for the men’s program, they also fielded two squads in 2019. The season began with one of the team’s heading to Washington, to play a match against a Major League Rugby expansion side, Old Glory DC. After the preseason tour, exhibition matches against Rugby Quebec and the Eastern Ontario Rugby Union, the Senior Blues headed to Halifax for the Eastern Canadian Rugby Championships. In a well-played final, the Blues came up short against Quebec, taking home the silver medal. To cap off the season, the Blues played two exhibition matches against touring side University of Dublin College. 

Ontario Jr. Blues Programs

In 2019, the Jr. Blues Program ran 11, boys and girls teams from U15 – U18. This program followed a regional model, fielding two teams in each age grade: one West team and one Central team. The U18 Boys Program was the only age grade to run a single, centralized team. 

The Jr. Blues season kicked off with the International Cross-Border Series, presented by the University of Guelph. All 11 of the Jr. Blues teams participated in the showcase, competing against teams from the United States and the United Kingdom. 

The Eagle Impact Rugby Academy (EIRA) made the trip north of the border once again, bringing with them U15, U16 and U17 Boys teams. The camp also saw three touring teams from the UK make a stop at Guelph University; Stewart Melville School, Cheltenham Bournside School, and Latymer Upper School all competed against the  Jr. Blues sides.

For a full recap of the International Cross-Border Series, click here.

To watch matches from the event on the Rugby Ontario YouTube Channel, click here. 

The camp served as preparation for the Eastern Canadian Rugby Championships, hosted at Queen’s University in Kingston from August 12th – 17th. The tournament consisted of 30 teams from six different provinces. Teams will be competed in four divisions: U16 boys, U16 girls, U18 boys and U18 girls. Congratulations once again to all our Jr. Blues teams on fantastic performance. 

GOLD: U16 Boys Central, U16 Girls Central, U18 Boys

SILVER: U16 Boys West, U18 Girls West

BRONZE: U18 Girls Central, U15 Boys Central

4th: U16 Girls West, U17 Boys Central

6th: U17 Boys West, U15 Ontario West

For full medal standings and a full tournament recap, click here.

To watch matches from the ECRC’s on the Rugby Ontario YouTube Channel, click here.

To cap off the year, the U16 Ontario Jr. Blues Girls Program travelled to England for a 10-day tour. Over the course of the trip, the team played three matches against U18 Academy sides from all over England. To begin the tour, the team was stationed at Hartpury Academy for six days. During that time, the team received coaching from the staff at Hartpury and took on the U18 Hartpury Academy side in a controlled scrimmage. The players and coaches also took in TWO professional matches, seeing the London Scottish face off against Hartpury and Gloucester take on the Saracens.

For a full recap of the tour, click here.

Match Official & Coaches

In 2019, Rugby Ontario had 209 registered Match Officials by seasons end, a slight increase from the 207 registered in 2018. Throughout the year, Rugby Ontario ran a number of Match Official Level 1 & 2 clinics across the province. In total, 97 people participated in Match Official clinics in 2019. Along with increasing match official registrations, Rugby Ontario introduced new kit for referees.

Rugby Ontario would like to congratulate Talal “Moe” Chaudhry, who was named Senior Match Official of the Year at the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet. Congratulations also to James Neale, who was named Junior Match Official of the Year.

With regards to coaches, Rugby Ontario had 550 registered coaches in 2019. A total of 20 coaching certification courses were run in 2019, which engaged 193 people. Of the 20 courses, 17 were Level 1 certifications, three were Level 2. Throughout the year, seven Professional Development (PD) sessions were run across the Province, engaging 72 coaches. 

Information on upcoming Coaching courses will be distributed in January 2020. 

For information on Match Official fees in 2020, click here.

For information on how to become a Match Official, click here.

For information on how to become a certified coach, click here. 

For information on upcoming coaching courses, click here. 

Rugby Ontario Events & News

Rugby in the Square

In 2019, Rugby in the Square returned for a second year. On Friday, July 5, Nathan Phillips Square was transformed into a multi-field rugby facility. The corporate flag rugby tournament, hosted by Rugby Ontario and the Toronto Inner- City Rugby Foundation, served as a celebration of rugby in the province. Along with the tournament, the event also had a pitch-side beer garden, multiple on-site activations, and the return of the Mixed Abilities Showcase.

The corporate tournament expanded from 12 to 15, requiring the event to feature three synthetic turf surfaces. The 15 organizations that participated in the event were: Abbot Environmental, Brook Restoration, CIBC, Dineen Coffee, Eventi Capital, Gowling WLG, Hatley, Home Instead Senior Care, Little Blue House, Penalta, PUMA, Sherrard Kuzz LLP, State Street, Triple Flag Mining, Velocity Trade, and Waypoint Investment Partners. 

The Rugby in the Square organizing committee would like to congratulate Eventi on their victory and thank all the corporate teams who participated. In addition, the committee would like to thank event partners: the Abilities Centre, the City of Toronto, Elite Training Systems, Gilbert Rugby Canada, Medallion Print Solutions, PUMA, Quinn’s Steakhouse & Irish Bar, SportSide Medical Services, and Terra Oppus Group/Synthetic Turf – International Toronto, the official synthetic turf supplier of Rugby Ontario & Rugby in the Square. 

For a full recap of Rugby in the Square 2019, click here.

To watch the 2019 Rugby in the Square video, click here.

For more information on Rugby in the Square, click here.

If you are interested in participating in or supporting Rugby in the Square 2020, contact Joe Schissler at

Rowan's Law

As of July 1, 2019, Rowan’s Law legislation came into effect. Rowan’s Law legislation was passed by the Ontario Government in 2018. This legislation is named in memory of Rowan Stringer who tragically died in 2013 of Second Impact Syndrome, the result of suffering multiple concussion playing rugby three times in six days. Rowan’s Law is applicable to 65 sports in Ontario as well as educational institutions. 

The legislation requires players, parents, coaches, match officials and trainers to review and sign off on the Ontario Ministry’s Concussion Awareness Resources and newly created Rugby Ontario Concussion Code of Conduct.

Heading into the 2020 season, Rugby Ontario urges all players, coaches and match officials to review the documentation.

For more on Rowan’s Law, click here.

Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame & Awards Banquet

On Saturday, November 23rd, Rugby Ontario held its annual Hall of Fame & Awards Banquet at Maple Banquet Hall in Mississauga. The night was highlighted by the induction seven individuals and one team into the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame. Congratulations to the Hall of Fame Class of 2019: Bob Boos & Mick Ferras Paul Myers, William O’Mahony, Ron Pither, Sherri Sparling, Glen Steen and the Toronto Scottish Women’s Team (1996-2005). 

Rugby Ontario also recognized the significant achievements of the annual award winners for 2019. The winners were also honoured as part of the banquet proceedings. Below is a list of our 2019 Annual Award winners. Congratulations to all the players, coaches, programs and match officials who received awards.

For a full recap of the event, click here.

To view photos from the event, click here.


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


Dalton Finkbeiner

Communications and Marketing Coordinator - Rugby Ontario

647-560-4790 x 1006