LANGFORD, BC – Rugby Canada is pleased to announce the inaugural seven inductees into the 2017 Hall of Fame class.
Al Charron, Gareth Rees, Rod Snow, Robert ‘Ro’ Hindson and Gillian Florence will be inducted into the player’s wing while Robert Spray and Mike Luke will be the first inductees into the builder’s category.
“We are very pleased that Rugby Canada has approved the seven nominees who had been recommended to be inducted into the Rugby Canada Hall of Fame,” said Barry Giffen, Past President and chair of the Ways and Means Committee. “This inaugural group of inductees are examples of the commitment and success of individuals who have contributed significantly to Rugby Canada’s foundation of world class standards and success.
“It is hoped that this initial group of individuals will set the standard for all future Hall of Famers.”
Last October, the Ways and Means Committee was established to develop a plan to honour and preserve rugby’s culture and heritage in Canada by recognizing the extraordinary achievements of rugby’s participants throughout the country.
The Committee, which features nine members, is headed by Barry Giffen, a two-time past President of Rugby Canada. The other Committee members are John Billingsley, Rick Bourne, Liz Ferguson, Keith Gillam, Rick Graham, Alan Sharp, Doug Sturrock and Keith Wilkinson. The committee features past Rugby Canada board members, presidents and players.
The Rugby Canada Hall of Fame will be located in the recently announced Al Charron Rugby Canada National Training Centre in Langford, BC, and will feature a museum that highlights and celebrates the historic moments in Canadian rugby history, creating a unique focal point at the state-of-the-art rugby facility.
The seven inductees will be celebrated at the annual Rugby Canada Awards Dinner on March 9 in Vancouver, BC, ahead of the HSBC Canada Sevens at BC Place March 11-12. The winners will also be recognized on the second day of the tournament. Tickets for the dinner are available online at www.events.rugbycanada.ca.
Charron, one of the most dominant rugby players of his time, is Canada’s all-time caps leader after suiting up as a starter in all 76 appearances for his country, including 25 times as captain, a Canadian record he shares with Gareth Rees. Charron made his test debut against Argentina in 1990 and made his final appearance at the 2003 Rugby World Cup against Tonga.
Charron played in four Rugby World Cups and went to a fifth as part of management team. He was a member of the inaugural Rugby World Cup Sevens squad in 1993 and also played in the famous Hong Kong Sevens on three occasions.
Over his distinguished career, Charron also made five appearances for the famed British Barbarians and also suited up as part of the World 15’s squad that faced Argentina to celebrate their centenary anniversary in 1999. Charron played for Bristol, Moseley, Pau and US Dax overseas and domestically suited up for the Ottawa Irish Rugby Club where he helped them win multiple provincial championships, across the McCormick Cup and sevens leagues. He also won National Championships with Ontario and the English Division 2 championship with Bristol.
Charron has been inducted into the Eastern Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame, Ontario Rugby Hall of Fame, Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame and is recognized as being one of the top 100 athletes to come from Ottawa. Rugby Canada’s newly announced training facility, located in Langford, BC, will be named the ‘Al Charron Rugby Canada National Training Centre.’
As one of the most prolific front rowers in Canadian rugby history, Snow enjoyed an illustrious career that saw him play in four Rugby World Cups for Canada.
The Bonavista, Newfoundland native, won 62 test caps for Canada, the most of any front rower. He made his test debut against Argentina in 1995 and made his final test appearance at the 2007 Rugby World Cup against Australia. He scored eight test tries during his career.
Snow played for Eastern Province in the 1995 Currie Cup where he started in all six matches. He would go on to play professionally with Newport RFC, where he is the highest scoring prop in their 140 plus year history, as well as the Newport Gwent Dragons making over more than 230 appearances between both clubs and winning the 2001 Welsh Cup. In 2016, Snow was inducted into the Newport Rugby Hall of Fame.
Snow also spent six seasons playing for his hometown Atlantic Rock winning national titles with them in 2006, 2007 and 2010. He also represented the famed Barbarians in matches against Wales in 1996 and the East Midlands in 2004. Snow is also a member of the Mount Pearl Sports Hall of Fame.
A dominant player, Hindson was a force in both the sevens and fifteens editions of the game on the international scene.
Hindson won 31 test caps for Canada and was a member of the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup squad. Hindson made his debut in 1973 against Wales before suiting up for the final time in 1990 against Argentina. When he retired, he was Canada’s all-time caps leader.
On the sevens front, Hindson played in the famed Hong Kong Sevens from 1980-1987 as well as the 1987 Sydney Sevens.
In Canada, Hindson played for the Penticton Harlequins RFC, Castaway Wanderers, Oak Bay Wanderers, UBC Old Boy Ravens as well as the University of Victoria, Vancouver Island, University of British Columbia as well as provincially for BC. He was also the only Canadian to play for the South Pacific Barbarians against the South African Barbarians in their 1987 tour. He also lined up for the World Team against Ireland as part of their centenary celebrations in 1973.
Hindson has been inducted into the BC Rugby Union Hall of Fame and the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
One of the most recognizable rugby stars of all-time, Rees won 55 test caps over a sensational career and played in four Rugby World Cups. He became the first North American inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2011.
Rees’ 491 points are the second most in Canadian test history while his 120 points in Rugby World Cups also remain a Canadian record. The Victoria, BC product made his test debut in 1986 and played in test victories over Argentina, Wales, Scotland and France as well as Rugby World Cup quarterfinal appearance in 1991. He retired in 1999 having captained Canada in two Rugby World Cups and 25 times, a record he holds with Al Charron.
In Europe, Rees attended Oxford University and played professionally for Wasps, Newport, Merignac and Harlequins where he won various cup and league competitions as well as scoring titles. He also represented the famed Barbarians four times. In Canada, Rees suited up for the University of Victoria and Castaway Wanderers and represented his province on many occasions.
Furthermore, Rees played for Canada at the U19 level and also played in the Sydney World Sevens and Hong Kong Sevens in 1988 as well as the 1992 Dubai Sevens.
In addition to the World Rugby Hall of Fame induction, Rees has been inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame, BC Rugby Hall of Fame, BC Sports Hall of Fame and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, where he was the first rugby player so honoured.
An astonishing talent, Florence is the most decorated Canadian female player of all-time after a fantastic two decade plus career.
Hailing from Hudson, Quebec Florence played for Canada a record 66 times and is one of only five players to play in five Women’s Rugby World Cups after playing in the 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010 editions of the tournament. Florence made her senior debut at the 1994 tournament at the tender age of 18.
Florence was named to the 2003 World XV to play against the New Zealand Black Ferns and retired from international competition in 2011. Domestically, Florence played for Ste. Anne de Bellevue RFC for 22 years and represented Quebec for 18 years and was part of the 2000 and 2001 sides that won the National Championship.
The annual senior women’s player award is named in Florence’s honour, which is awarded to the “player who best represents the qualities of Canadian rugby as voted by her teammates.”
A former President of Rugby Canada, Spray was a critical figure in the development of rugby in Canada until his retirement in 1972.
Originally from England, Spray has held the positions of BC Rugby Chair of Referees, President of BC Rugby, Chair of Rugby Tours Committee of Canada and Director and Vice-President of the Canadian Sports Federation during his illustrious career.
With no governing body at the time, Spray organized tours for 26 clubs, universities and national sides and did the same for five outbound tours including Canadian national team visits to Great Britain in 1962 and Wales in 1971.
Spray was the first president in Rugby Canada’s history, at the time known as the Canadian Rugby Union when re-launched in 1965, and held the position until 1972 when he chose to not stand for re-election.
In 1975, Spray was inducted into the BC Hall of Fame and earned the same honour in 2005 with the BC Rugby Hall of Fame. Spray passed away in 1991 and will be recognized posthumously.
After arriving in St. John’s, Newfoundland in 1969, and finding no club to play for, Luke established the St. John’s club and was co-founder of the Newfoundland Rugby Union as well as its first president.
Luke played 16 test matches for Canada, making his debut in 1974 against Tonga and bowing out against the USA in 1982. Luke captained Canada on eight occasions. He also represented the Barbarians on three occasions and was a member of the Overseas XV that played against Wales as part of the Welsh Rugby Union Centenary celebrations. He also played for the Meralomas in Canada and for the Pirates R.F.C. and Harlequins F.C. in the UK.
He was the coach and manager of Canada’s sevens team in the 1981 Hong Kong Sevens and also coached Canada’s U21 team from 1987-1989. He was an assistant coach and manager of the Canadian squad that reached the quarterfinals of the 1991 Rugby World Cup.
Luke served on the Board of Rugby Canada and was a member and then Chair of the Rugby Canada National Coaching Committee for over 20 years. He became a Master Coach in Canada’s National Coaching Certification Program before being elected Chair of the National Coaching Certification Council in 1993.
In 1999, Luke was the recipient of the 3M Coaching Association of Canada Coaching Award for Sport Development and in 2006 received the IRB Development Award for his contributions to the growth of rugby in Canada.