Toquaht First Nation member Phil Mack

NCN to play pro rugby in Wales

Toquaht First Nation's Phil Mack has signed a pro contract to play rugby for the Ospreys of Swansea, Wales.

A passion for rugby and tensile steel toughness has taken a Nuuchahnulth man from the rugby pitches in Victoria to playing professionally in Wales.

Phil Mack, 27, a member of the Toquaht First Nation on the West Coast, is playing scrum half for the Ospreys of Swansea. He signed a contract to play earlier this fall.

The Ospreys play in RaboDirect Pro 12, which his home to many of the world’s most storied rugby clubs and top flight players.

“This is the first time I have been looked at or been in search of a professional job,” said Mack from Wales. “I’m extremely excited that it turned out to be the Ospreys given the caliber of play. It is a proud moment and I’m going to work hard and just try and contribute as best I can.”

Mack is one of three siblings and grew up in Victoria. His late father Sid was Nuuchahnulth, and his mother Janine is Lebanese.

He started playing rugby at age 16 while a student at Oak Bay High School, where he was a stand out scrum half. He played for the University of Victoria after graduating from high school.

In four years with UVIC Mack played nationally and internationally for Canada played 19 times — 14 of them capped. He is a former captain of the National Sevens team, and has played in the Pacific Nations Cup and in the Rugby World Cup qualifiers. “Rugby has taken me all over the world and have played in each continent,” Mack said.

He’s been a member of Canada’s national team since 2007. And he was part of a gold medal team in the Pan American Games in 2012.

“Phil was a very exciting player for us, he won us many games on individual effort,” said UVic head coach Doug Tate. “He’s a very talented offensive and defensive player. He plays at 100 miles per-hour and with a lot of passion.”

Other Aboriginals have also played top flight rugby, Mack said. “Bob Ross and Rod Snow played at the senior level,” he said.

Ross is a former Canadian National rugby player who earned 58 caps for Canada, and was twice named captain twice.

Snow played the prop position and earned 62 caps for Canada from 1995 to 2007. He also played professionally for Barbarian FC in England and for the Dragons in Newport, South Wales.

Rugby teaches intangible skills that transcend the game, Mack said. “It teaches you respect, commitment and how to work for what you want,” he said. “I would encourage as many Aboriginal youngsters to pick the game up.”

Those youngsters may not have to look far or wait long to learn the game. Mack is percolating the idea of an Aboriginal seven’s rugby team when he returns.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

Twitter.com/AlberniNews

~With files from Travis Patterson

Just Posted

Alberni Valley Bulldogs battle against top teams in the BCHL

Bulldogs split weekend games against Spruce Kings, Chiefs

Husky robbery suspect caught

A man suspected of robbing the Husky gas station and convenience store… Continue reading

BCHL Bulldogs are for sale

The Port Alberni Junior Hockey Society seeks a buyer after six full seasons of operation

Changes coming to BC Ferries reservations for Vancouver Island routes

Many customers are booking multiple reservations, inflating wait times

Port Alberni will consider cannabis bylaws at committee of the whole meeting

Members of the public are invited to provide input

Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

The school’s principal, Greg Reeves, described the video of the alleged sexual assault as ‘horrific’

Laine scores 3 as Jets double Canucks 6-3

Injury-riddled Vancouver side drops sixth in a row

Deportation averted for Putin critic who feared return to Russia

Elena Musikhina, a vocal critic of the Kremlin, has been granted a two-year visitor’s permit in Canada

Outreach group ordered to stop feeding homeless on City of Parksville property

City issued Manna Homeless Society cease and desist order after complaints from public

Victim’s girlfriend testifies on first day of 2016 Chemainus murder trial

“I was soaked in blood from the neck down”: witness

B.C. to allow Uber-style ride hailing services to operate in late 2019

Fee will be applied to fund options for disabled people

Auditor general takes aim at Liberals’ fighter-jet plan

Suditor general Michael Ferguson is about to release a new report on Canada’s attempts to buy new fighter jets

B.C. couple converts ambulance into a traveling home

The Revelstoke couple plan on touring B.C. ski hills then driving to Mexico

Cyclist defecates, throws own poop at car following B.C. crash

Man defecates in the street before throwing it at a driver locked in her vehicle

Most Read