Announcement: Rugby Ontario Selected for OHPSI 2021-2023 Program

May 05, 2021


Rugby Ontario Selected for OHPSI 2021 - 2023 Program

Rugby Ontario and the Ontario Blues Program are thrilled to announce the selection of both our girls’ and boys’ 7s programs into the Ontario High Performance Sport Initiative (OHPSI) program for 2021 – 2023. Selection into the OHPSI program is the result of a rigorous and extensive application process through which only 25 funding positions were available for all sports across Ontario.

As per the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario release on April 28th, 2021 “The OHPSI program was designed to support a comprehensive Provincial high performance sport system that allows for sustained success of athletes and coaches at the highest levels of international sport. The goal of the OHPSI program is to identify and support Ontario athletes capable of achieving future international success on Senior National teams in targeted summer and winter Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American, and Para Pan American Games sports.”

Selection into this program represents the successful renewal of our girls’ 7s program, which has been part of OHPSI since 2016. During this time, funding was used to develop the Rugby Canada Development Academy (RCDA). A joint program between Rugby Ontario and Rugby Canada, which provides year-round support and development for elite age grade players and coaches. Investment in strength and conditioning, athletic therapy, nutrition and mental performance has contributed to the holistic development of 40+ players annually and has prepared multiple players for the transition into the centralized daily training environment based out of the Al Charon Rugby Canada National Training Centre in Langford, BC. Many of these players have since gone on to play for both the National Senior Women’s 7s and XVs team. Notable alumni include Taylor Black (National Sr. Women’s XV, Exeter Chiefs, Oakville Crusaders), Oliva Apps (National Sr. Women’s 7s, Lindsay Rugby Club) Asia Hogan- Rochester (National Sr. Women’s 7s, Toronto Nomads). "The RDCA continues to strengthen momentum and grow alongside critical partners like OHSPI and Rugby Ontario.” Said Sandro Fiorino, Canada Senior Women’s XV Head Coach.” As we proceed into our fifth year of the academy, we continue to focus on building a system that develops and prepares players to advance to the next level.”

This is the first time that the Rugby Ontario boys’ 7s program has been selected as part of the OHPSI program, as they were previously ineligible in 2016 due to Olympic qualifications. However, in its infancy, the RCDA did engage a handful of elite junior boys for training and development. Notable alumni to graduate from that program include Brock Webster (National Sr. Men’s 7s, Oshawa Vikings) and David Richard (National Sr. Men’s 7s, Mississauga Blues).

“Over the past five years, our partnership with OHPSI to support our girls’ program has led to the development of key infrastructure and resources to support aspiring young rugby players in Ontario.” said Sean Medeiros, Rugby Ontario High Performance Coordinator. “The selection of our boys program moving forward means these resources can be further developed and invested in to ensure continued growth and opportunities for both male and female players. We are excited to continue to build on our partnership with OHPSI and CSIO and to create greater opportunities for athletes to achieve their goals.”

Following the successful launch of the Ontario Blues: Jr Arrows Academy (OBJAA) in September 2020, resources will be invested into enhancing this program and providing greater developmental opportunities for elite players and coaches across Ontario. The establishment of our regional training centres in Guelph, Whitby and Ottawa allow for greater access to programming, and less travel for players located outside of the GTA for both male and female programs. Most importantly, this injection of funding will eliminate the pay to play model for the OBJAA, allowing selected players to train with no participation fees; a model that has been in place for the RCDA since 2016.

“We are very proud to announce rugby’s expanded presence in the Ontario High Performance Sport Initiative for 2021-23,” said Myles Spencer, Rugby Ontario CEO. “This enhanced investment will continue to support Rugby Ontario’s high performance programming, in ways that would not otherwise be possible. Each year, our team works in partnership with our funding and sport partners to create these development opportunities for aspiring athletes.”

Rugby Ontario would like to thank the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario, the OHPSI Program and the Ministry of Heritage, Sport Tourism and Culture Industries, for their continued support and investment in the provincial high-performance program, and rugby players across the province.

For players interested in engaging in the Rugby Canada Development Academy or the Ontario Blues: Jr Arrows Academy, both programs will launch their 2021-2022 intake this fall. Details on program identification and selection will be shared in the coming weeks.

For more information on the Rugby Ontario’s High Performance programs, please contact Sean Medeiros (


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


Sean Medeiros

High Performance Coordinator and Academy Director - Rugby Ontario