By: Karen Gasbarino-Knutt with Robin MacDowell 

Robin MacDowell never rests. We have profiled this amazing servant to rugby in the past: Have Whistle Will Travel. Robin is among THE very most battletested. He played for many years, has played both 7s and 15s, and moved on to coaching at the end of his playing days. His goal is to give back to the game, and to make kids feel the same passion he does for the oval ball. 

He’s got his own Rugby Academy, MacDowell Rugby. This is the catalyst to Robin’s coaching many teams, not the least of which are the Canada U-18 team and the National Mexican Women’s 7s Team.

Coaching in two countries gives Robin a special perspective, and access to a kind of passion that kids who really want to play the game feel. “The diversity of coaching two nations gives me solid perspective about different challenges and different opportunities one faces when pursuing the game. What I see across the board is the same passion and love for the sport but coming from very different backgrounds. It makes me realize that this game is unique in the way it crosses these boundaries. I love helping to grow the game. I grow along with each experience!”

This most driven coach, so busy this year coaching his teams to their various world cup encounters, firsts for the teams and firsts for MacDowell as well – is set to host his first ever Ædelhard-sponsored camp at three Vancouver Island locations next week. Not only that, but he’s especially proud to be working closely with former student and 7s up and coming star Pat Kay (who we also did a profile on Here).

Robin has recently been announced as Ædelhard’s first Elite Brand Ambassador. He’s proud to be aligned with a company that shares his own values. He says: “I truly believe in the vision Ædelhard is trail blazing for our sport – without borders or boundaries to open doors, to help to grow the game! I am massively honoured to be named their first elite ambassador and I am really excited they have partnered with MacDowell Rugby for our first Island Camp Series, where it all started for Pat and myself.” 

We are proud to support a coach that gives his all to the game, who has spent more time this year living out of a suitcase in just about every time zone. Robin MacDowell is the very person we want representing our brand. His vision is to bring rugby to more players, to grow rugby in Canada and beyond, to contribute to growing women’s rugby, and to continue to do so until he no longer can.

He has no vision of ever stopping. He is driven and talented, and we support his every endeavour.

MacDowell is especially passionate about helping rugby in Canada reach the heights it strives to reach. He knows that the only way to do this is to ignite, or continue to fuel, the passion that young people feel for the game.

“I believe Canada has everything it takes to be a world contender at all levels in rugby. We just need to work together for the greater good of our sport and the up and coming generations of rugby players across our great nation.” 

MacDowell is the most passionate ambassador of the sport, and expects nothing in return except players truly caring about playing as a team, playing for each other, and doing their best. He knows it’s possible for Canada to make a meaningful impact on rugby: “We have the athletes, the coaches, the facilities, and supporters to continue to put Canadian Rugby on the map.”

It’s time for rugby in Canada to reclaim our rightful place in sport here at home. Rugby is growing in Canada but is struggling currently with numbers. Numbers of young players are in the many thousands, but in order to retain those players into their senior/high school years we have to turn spark into flame. Robin believes sincerely that this can happen.

“The truth is we are in competition with all other sports” he says. He feels that collectively, “the rugby community at large needs to work together and pull in the same direction to focus on the youth.”

Robin MacDowell invites any and all to his Island Series Camp this week to experience the same passion he and Pat Kay feel for the sport of rugby: 

  • Wednesday evening, August 22, Coaches Robin and Pat will be at home club Cowichan from 6:30-8:30 pm.
  • Thursday, August 23, Robin and Pat will be at Nanaimo Rugby Club from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.
  • Then on Friday, August 24, they’ll be hosting the last of their Island Camp series at Westshore Rugby Club from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.

Cost is $40.00 per session. You can sign up to one, two or all three sessions at www.macdowellrugby.ca. Robin and Pat look forward to welcoming you and giving your players great rugby tips.

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