Okotoks brothers join Wolf Pack
Rugby: Spencer and Reid Watkins claw onto rep touring side
Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014 06:00 am
From backyard tosses outside their Okotoks home to sharing the field with some of the nation’s best rugby players.
It’s been quite the journey of ascendency for brothers Spencer and Reid Watkins as they took a major leap forward in their rugby careers as the newest members of the Prairies Wolf Pack.
“It’s definitely the next step for me in rugby,” said Spencer, the club captain for the Foothills Lions Senior men’s outfit. “If I want to get good and go to the next level with rugby, this is the kind of team to go on. Those guys are amazing and the amount they know about the game is incredible.”
The Wolf Pack, a touring rep side featuring the top players from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, boast several Senior national team members including Nick Blevins, Andrew Tiedemann, Hubert Buydens, among many others.
“It’s always a great experience to train with those guys,” said Reid, the Lions’ scrum-half. “Gordie McRorie, who is the national scrum-half for Senior men’s, I’ve been under his wing. Listening to everything he has to say and learning a ton from him.
“The speed of transfer, how fast he gets the ball out, is baffling to me.”
The standout members of the Lions, major catalysts behind the team’s first-place spot in the Calgary Rugby Union’s second division, earned their Wolf Pack stripes after impressing in a North versus South all-star game and at the subsequent evaluation camp.
“They have the game at the Bateman Cup and they select the guys they feel are good to come to a camp and from the camp they get a closer look at the players they have and can see more of the skills they’re looking for and develop them,” Spencer said. “A huge thing for both Reid and I was we were able to get a lot better at the positions we play.”
Reid, 20, is excited with the prospects of being a Wolf Pack prospect.
“I’m one of the youngest guys on the team, no one was really expecting much out of me. I was brought in for development purposes,” said Reid. “They just want to develop me as a future contender.”
“These are Senior national players at the very top, there is nothing better than that. There’s only one way to go and it’s up.”
The Wolf Pack are in Kelowna this weekend to square off in the Apple Bowl. Following a two-week hiatus, the Pack travels to Edmonton for a Sept. 4 tilt with the Ontario Blues, is back at the Calgary Rugby Park on Sept. 7 versus Newfoundland’s The Rock and then makes the long trek to St. John’s on Sept. 18. The schedule wraps up on Sept. 21 in Peterborough, Ont. for a rematch with Ontario.
For more information on the Wolf Pack go to wolfpackrugby.com