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Rugby World Cup: Canada can make a point

11:00 19 September 2015

The Canada team pose for a squad photo during the welcome ceremony (pic: David Davies/PA)

The Canada team pose for a squad photo during the welcome ceremony (pic: David Davies/PA)

PA Wire

Dagenham PE teacher hopeful for countrymen

Interest in rugby has been growing in Canada over the last few years and Robert Clack PE teacher Diana Drake hopes her countrymen can give a good account of themselves at their eighth World Cup.

Drake grew up in Whitby, Ontario, an hour east of Toronto, and with two of her three elder siblings being involved in rugby, she became interested at a young age.

“I started playing when I entered secondary school and loved every minute of it,” said Drake. “I ended up going to a university which focused on rugby instead of American football, but unfortunately I injured my ankle, ending my rugby career as a player.

“More and more secondary schools around the country are developing the sport at a younger age, but rugby kind of gets overshadowed still by American football.”

Drake got into coaching as a result of her injury and says her passion for rugby has only increased in the years since.

She helped Clack’s under-13 and under-15 girls to national finals last year and she is excited by the prospect of watching Canada compete on the biggest stage once again, adding: “We have a tough first match against some of my personal rivals, Ireland!

“I’m hopeful for our boys as they will be facing some tough competition, but it is a great experience and will spark interest in any sports fan back home, that’s for sure.

“John Moonlight is the best player on Canada’s sevens team so it will be interesting to see him in action with the 15s and Tyler Ardron is quite young to be captain of a national team, but he definitely has skill, energy and enthusiasm.

“I’m really interested to see how Jamie Cudmore and Brett Beukeboom take on their 
opponents as they make quite a strong pack, which should help support the team.”

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