ZONE 6: Rugby star Maggie Banks carries family legacy to BC Games

Shawnigan Lake student and Coquitlam native following her parents to the national program

Even though both of her parents not only played for, but captained national rugby teams, Maggie Banks insists she found the sport on her own.

“I grew up playing every other sport around,” Banks said on Friday afternoon, shortly after her Vancouver Island-Central Coast team defeated Kootenays in a girls rugby sevens match at the 2018 BC Summer Games. “There were always rugby balls around, but there was never any pressure from my parents. I found it myself, with a little encouragement.”

Banks’s dad, Ryan, played in the back row for Canada at the 1999 and 2003 Rugby World Cups. And her mom, Heather Wilson, represented Canada in the 1994 and 1998 Rugby World Cups.

Although she was around the sport constantly, she didn’t start playing until she was 13.

“I practically grew up at the rugby pitch,” Banks noted in her BC Summer Games athlete bio, “and cheered on the sidelines at the 2003 World Cup in Australia.”

While Banks’ hometown is Coquitlam, she spends almost the entire year on Vancouver Island where she attends rugby powerhouse Shawnigan Lake School, while also training with the national program, so it made more sense for her to try out for the Vancouver Island-Central Coast team instead of the squad representing the Fraser River zone, which includes Coquitlam.

“It was convenient. I’m here, obviously, so it’s easier for me to train with this team.”

Maggie Banks delivers a pass to one of her Vancouver Island-Central Coast teammates during a match against the Kootenays at the 2018 BC Summer Games girls rugby sevens tournament on Friday, July 20. (Kevin Rothbauer/Black Press)

Shawnigan Lake School is the site of the BC Summer Games rugby tournament, so Banks is at home playing on the familiar pitch. She’s also working with familiar faces as four of her high school teammates are on the Island team — led by Shawnigan coaches Shannon Atkins, Laura Russell and Dani Robb. There is something unusual, however, about being on the Shawnigan pitch with players who might ordinarily be rivals.

“It’s a little weird, playing here with other people I don’t usually play with,” Banks admitted.

Family and friends from both the Shawnigan Lake area and her hometown of Coquitlam gathered at the fields on the weekend to cheer for Banks and her teammates.

“It’s always nice to have them around for support,” she said.

The 2018 BC Summer Games girls rugby sevens tournament continues at Shawnigan Lake School through Sunday morning, with the final at 10:30 a.m.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

BCHL: Bulldogs new coach Joe Martin looking for hard skill, winning attitude

Alberni Valley team heads into new era with new owners, coaches, expectations

China Creek bullhead derby a hit

Derby was organized by the Port Alberni Port Authority

Go Bearfoot in the Park and help kids too in Port Alberni

Fundraising event will take place at Blair Park on Aug. 24

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Two B.C. suspects of a Canada-wide manhunt reportedly recorded a cellphone video… Continue reading

Sproat Lake residents oppose large-scale cannabis production in their neighbourhood

Community group calls public meeting for Aug. 21 to discuss implications to ACRD land

UPDATE: Wildfire east of Port Alberni under control

Crews continue to mop up 3.1-hectare fire

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Groovy B.C. wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Nearly 50% of Canadians experience ‘post-vacation blues’: poll

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

Most Read