While at this time Otago Rugby Club will be playing exhibition matches come the fall, coach Jack Beardmore is hoping to make a pitch to get the club back into league play.
“I’m hoping to go to the British Columbia Rugby Union (BCRU) meeting, and I now have full support from the Castaway Wanderers, I have Nanaimo’s full support and Comox’s full support that we should go back to the Vancouver Island third division league.
“The entire league is set up in interlock with the Fraser Valley, Vancouver and Vancouver Island, which prohibits us from being able to play, because we can’t go to Abbotsford and Chilliwack and all those places and get back, and I know they are not going to come here.”
Beardmore said his point at the BCRU meeting would be for a Vancouver Island-only schedule, and he said the Vancouver Island teams are in total agreement.
“They would like to play the first half of the season with just the island,” said Beardmore. “We could have five to six teams on the island and that would be perfect. That is what I am hoping for with the BCRU.”
Beardmore said as of right now, he is looking at, hopefully, an eight-game exhibition season next season, with four games in the first half of the season and four in the second half.
Otago recently completed an exhibition match with the Victoria-area Castaway Wanderers, and the island team wants to host Otago at the beginning of the next rugby season or Thanksgiving weekend, said Beardmore. Comox wants to do a home and home series with Otago, and that will be stiff competition for Otago because Comox won the British Columbia third division championship this year.
“They’re a great bunch and their coach over there is phenomenal,” said Beardmore. “He and I were talking and if in a game the score starts getting carried away, we’ll just mix and match the guys around and make it a fun game.”
Nanaimo has also approached Otago for a home and home series, so there is already the potential of six exhibition games, but Beardmore is hoping the team can join the league after a long absence.