The snow may still be on the sports fields around Nelson, but the rugby team at L.V. Rogers is preparing for their season.
While the players prepare at home, former Bombers have been taking to the field across the country from Vancouver to Waterloo and one player has gone down under.
Sean Hickson, who joined the Bombers when he started high school, has recently joined an Australian rugby team, the Sunnybank Dragons.
“He was a soccer player for a long time,” said LVR coach Michael Joyce. “Obviously he didn’t have the opportunity to play rugby until Grade 8, but really it’s a high school sport.”
Joyce said that early on as a rugby player Hickson enjoyed the sport for the camaraderie of the team and having fun on the field, but when he was in Grade 11 Joyce saw a change.
“As he came into his senior years he really started to commit to the sport. He practiced it and became committed to the gym,” he said.
“He became a student of the game. He went from someone who did it as a pastime and to be with friends and it moved really seriously into him wanting to go somewhere.”
Hickson recently received a unique opportunity to continue his development and career as a rugby player.
“It’s interesting because Hickson through the Rowers — the club team in Vancouver he was attached to — had the opportunity to go down to play with the Sunnybank Dragons in Queensland, Australia,” said Joyce.
The Dragons are a feeder team for the Queensland Reds, a professional club.
“The majority of the Reds players go on to play for Team Australia,” said Joyce. “The Queensland Reds are a really powerful professional team.”
Hickson is currently starting his pre-season for the Dragons.
Joyce said Hickson’s journey to the Dragons is important because Nelson kids can see the path the sport can take them.
“There is a path for kids here. High school graduation doesn’t have to be their ending point,” said Joyce.
Other Bombers like Quinn Cowie, Maverick Seed and Colin Robinson are playing in various levels for the Rowers in Vancouver, and Jim Stevensen is playing university level rugby for the University of Waterloo.
“Cowey is playing for the Rowers at the highest division and having a lot of success there,” said Joyce.
Cowey was the MVP at last year’s provincial tournament and played half a game last week and scored a try.
The Bombers season starts on March 5 with several away games.