May 2, 2019 2:46 pm
Updated: May 3, 2019 10:59 am

‘Let us play’: N.S. students push back as athletic federation cancels high school rugby

WATCH: Thousands of players to be impacted by cancellation of high school rugby season in Nova Scotia.

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“Let us play! Let us play!”

Those were the chants of dozens of high school students as teams from throughout the Halifax Regional Municipality gathered at Sunnyside Mall on Thursday.

The teams gathered to voice their frustration over a decision from the governing body of Nova Scotia’s high school athletics to cancel high school rugby.

A memo obtained by Global News says that the board of governors at the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation (NSSAF) came to the decision after a “thorough review of incident report data provided by the School Insurance Program.”

A request for comment from the NSSAF was not immediately returned although they have provided the data they refer to in the memo.

READ MORE: Fatal rugby injuries are rare, expert says after P.E.I. high schooler’s death

A copy of the memo from the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation informing the province’s schools that rugby will no longer be offered.

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The data indicates that over that past five years there have been nearly three times the amount of insurance claims made by rugby players.

There have been 158 insurance claims as a result of soccer, 162 insurance claims as a result of football, 187 claimed as a result of hockey and 454 claims under rugby.

A graph that the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation provided which indicates the number of insurance claims made over the past five years.

Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation

Students gathered at the Sunnyside Mall expressed frustration that their ability to play the sport they love had been taken away from them.

“I can’t even put into words how disappointing it was,” said Brooklyn Peyton.

Larry Peyton, Brooklyn’s father said that a year ago rugby wasn’t a part of his or his daughter’s lives.

“But once she started playing it became a different thing,” he said.

“It was a group, a family that really seemed to bond together. Now it’s her world.”

Brooklyn Peyton and Larry Peyton speak with Global News on May 2, 2019 about their response to the decision to end high school rugby in Nova Scotia.


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A change.org petition titled “Bring rugby back to NS schools” had gathered more than 7,700 signature by 8:30 p.m.

Rugby Nova Scotia has issued a response to the news, saying they were “very disappointed with the decision.”

They’ve requested a meeting with the NSSAF to better understand what led to the decision.

“This will affect thousands of students, parents, coaches, match officials and supporters,” said Geno Carew, president of Rugby Nova Scotia, in the release.

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The Cape Breton Victoria Regional Centre for Education has confirmed to Global News that an international student at Sydney Academy was injured during a rugby match on Wednesday.

“EHS responded to the site and the student is receiving medical attention,” Marjorie Graham, a spokesperson for the school board said in a statement.

“Out of respect for the student’s family and their privacy, we will not be providing any further comment or information at this time.”

With files from Alexa MacLean 

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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