After less than a year in the sport, Squamish resident Joshua Watts already has a wealth of experience in the world of rugby.
The 2012 Howe Sound Secondary School (HSSS) grad joined up with the newly formed high school team this spring and made an immediate impact on the team.
Watts was named the most valuable player for the team among all forwards and combined with his football background, seemed to make an easy transition into the sport.
“This was my first year and I thought I did pretty well on the high school team, “ he said. “I’m still getting a feel for it but I’m learning a lot.”
He then joined up with the brand new Sea to Sky Eagles Rugby League club and again fit in well with the club.
“Josh Watts came to the Eagles bright eyed and bushy tailed, having no rugby background, although since he is a footballer I knew it wouldn't take him long to get the hang of things,” said Eagles head coach Ally Mac. “Over the season Josh has proved himself with his fearless tackles and aggressive running style.”
Mac said the sky is the limit for the relatively new player.
“He has become the heart of the team with his easygoing nature and hard-working ethics both on and off the field,” he said. “The future for Josh is promising as he continues to develop as a rugby player.”
Mac was so impressed with the play of Watts that he named him to the B.C. Bulldogs rugby league team. The Bulldogs is a squad made up of some of the best players in the province and Watts said it’s been a great experience playing on the team.
“All the guys are really helpful,” he said. “We’re all different backgrounds and it’s just a really cool thing to be a part of.”
The Bulldogs took on the Utah Avalanche in Kelowna on Aug. 18 and picked up a 48-12 victory to kick off a four-game set that will see the team travel all over North America.
“It was a good, hard game out there,” Watts said. “Utah showed good enthusiasm and sportsmanship and it was all around a good game.”
Part of rugby tradition is to have a drink with the opposing team after the game and this match was no different. Watts said it’s quite a big difference from the way he and his Sounders football teammates treated their opponents.
“We went out to a couple of clubs with the guys from Utah and it was a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s much more different than football. The closest we would get is after the game when we make them hot dogs and then send them on their way.”
He added that he hopes to be play in as many games as possible with the Bulldogs and then rejoin the Eagles next spring.
For more information on rugby league in B.C., visit www.bc.canadarugbyleague.com.