Toquaht First Nation member Phil Mack

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

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station destroyed by fire after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

New Vancouver Island University chancellor Judith Sayers was sworn in at a virtual ceremony June 17. (Submitted photo)
VIU’s new chancellor seeks innovation and equality in post-secondary education

Judith Sayers officially sworn in as Vancouver Island University chancellor

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The B.C. woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Most Read