Maritime-born rugby players to represent Canada in international test matches

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WATCH: Nova Scotia’s rugby scene is experiencing rapid growth with the opening of a new clubhouse, and upcoming Team Canada matches featuring home-grown players. Alexa MacLean has the details – Jun 24, 2022

Nova Scotia’s rugby scene is riding a wave of growth following the opening of a new clubhouse and upcoming Canada 15s matches featuring local talent.

“Anytime I get to represent Canada, I’m incredibly honoured to do so but I do think that being able to play in front of my family and friends, and extended family, I think it will be quite the experience,” Cooper Coats said.

Cooper Coats
Coats regularly represents Canada on the Senior Men’s 7s squad. Submitted / Cooper Coats

The Haligonian is no stranger to the international rugby circuit having played both 7s and 15s for the Senior Men’s Canada squad. He now lives in Victoria, British Columbia where he regularly trains with Canada’s 7s team. It’s a dream that he’s been chasing since he first began playing the sport at Citadel High School.

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“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a kid is play the highest level of sport I possibly can. And, sevens has been that pathway for me,” he said.

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Coats is representing Canada in two international test matches this summer that kickoff in Halifax on July 2.

The match will be against Belgium and played at the Wanderer’s Grounds in downtown Halifax.

“We’re just absolutely stoked to see that Wanderer’s Ground full with red,” he said.

The pre-match excitement comes on the heels of a successful overseas trip for Canada’s senior women’s 15s squad.

“This past month we were in New Zealand playing PAC4 [Pacific Four Series] which is us, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand,” Olivia DeMerchant said.
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New Brunswick born DeMerchant is one of Canada’s most capped players. Alexa MacLean / Global Halifax

The series is in preparation for the Women’s Rugby World Cup hosted by New Zealand this October.

DeMarchant is representing Canada at the World Cup with two other Maritime born players, Emma Taylor and Alysha Corrigan.

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The senior women’s team will also play a test match at the Wanderer’s Grounds in August.

“Really, I’m looking forward to all of August. We’re going to soft-centralize our whole team here. So, there’s going to be about thirty athletes in Halifax getting ready for the World Cup,” she said.

The newly opened Graves-Oakley Clubhouse in Spryfield, N.S. Alexa MacLean / Global Halifax

Coats is hopeful that the opening of the new clubhouse in Spryfield will encourage more players to get involved in the sport.

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“More and more people will start playing, which will allow more people to think of rugby as their sport,” he said.


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