Kerri has been a familiar face at CW for several years. She has been involved in various roles within the rugby community by managing numerous club teams, managing regional, provincial and national teams, involved with Jr Tide Rugby and Team Liaison Officer with Rugby Canada for the NZ Women’s Sevens team for many years, managed the Jamaican Women’s team for the Rugby Americas North (RAN) Sevens Olympic qualifier tournament. At CW she has followed both of her daughters who started in minis and worked their way up to the senior programs. We are very fortunate to have her involved in our programs. The time has come to recognise her contributions. What better time than the resumption of play, to recognise the Women's Div. 1 Manager!

: Being a Landed Immigrant who became a Canadian Citizen myself, it always interests me as to the reason people move to Canada from other countries. Recognizing your Canadian country of birth, Kerri, how did you end up in New Zealand? May I be as cheeky to ask the reason the Cook family moved back to Canada from NZ?

A:  Aaron Cook was the reason for my ending up in New Zealand. Aaron was a foreign exchange student at my high school in Port McNeill, BC. After Aaron’s year in Canada there were many trips, visas, back and forth between Canada and New Zealand. Eventually we made New Zealand our home for many years before packing up to start our OE (Overseas Experience).  After travelling the world Aaron and I decided we enjoyed the lifestyle. We returned to Canada in 2001 thinking we would use Canada as our base, travel and see as much as we could.


Q: How did you become interested, and specifically connected with CW?

A: My connection was definitely through Renee, Jorja and Aaron. We told our daughters they had to play a team sport, any team sport of their choice and they chose rugby! From the moment we walked up to the field at Windsor Park we were greeted by an amazing rugby community. Everyone was so friendly and encouraging when the girls took the field with the minis. From there Aaron then started playing rugby with the CW men and coaching minis and juniors.


Q:  CW has been a good vehicle for your daughters, Jorja’s, and Renee’s rugby development.  What positive steps have you seen in their pathway development and where are they today on that path?

A: CW has been amazing for Renee and Jorja’s rugby development. The club is very inclusive, encouraging and fun. As Juniors with CW they spent many Saturday’s at the field as ball girls for the Senior Women’s games. They were included in the warm ups with the Senior Women who were rugby players they looked up to. Having the national team training in Victoria they were lucky to have the Canadian Women come out to their trainings and work on skills with them. There was a strong team of coaches when the girls were Juniors and I believe the level of coaching is definitely a positive impact resulting in very successful seasons for both of them.


Q: Having spent 11 years in NZ, it is inevitable that you must do the comparison test.  What are the main differences in rugby development in the two countries, in your opinion?

A:  The main difference is that rugby is the main sport in New Zealand. Exposure to the sport is greater with television and a smaller population everyone knows someone who is affiliated with rugby. No matter where you go you will see a kid a rugby ball.


Q: I preface the next question with a pov.  Having just completed a rugby read, “The Jersey”, a treatise on All Black rugby, NZ, and its culture, and the inextricably intertwined nature of all three, it is interesting to reflect on the amazing successes of the Canadian NSWT players. I found it most interesting to learn of the heavy emphasis on schools’ rugby between the ages of 13 – 18 in NZ, and comparative, lack of information about a similar development with clubs at the same age group for both boys and girls. In fact, the author extrapolates the very disconcerting decline of clubs, partly in fact, due to this lack of club growth. Here, in Victoria it is almost the total reverse. I think the club connection and pathway to the apex might be almost superior, in pockets, to what I read and researched, and clubs have taken on a major responsibility with girls and women’s rugby, ultimately strengthening the club’s existence.  This pattern is also the case in Vancouver. With fewer and fewer school programs, maybe the club pathway is a stronger route to the top and accounts for Canadian success. Do you have an opinion about this situation?

A: The pathways are definitely different. For high school rugby, our daughter played rugby in New Zealand at Hamilton Girls High School and she had rugby on a daily basis for pretty much the whole school year. It isn`t until they are finished high school that they play club. In BC the school rugby season is short and the club seasons don`t interfere with the school rugby season. Also, club season being 2 practices and 1 game per week allows BC players to play multiple sports while still playing club rugby.

National player selections in Canada appear to have the majority selected from universities, but in NZ this is not the case. In NZ is it because exposure to high level rugby in high school which in turn had those players selected weekly for rosters once they were playing Club giving them exposure to National selectors.

Back to your original question, yes, I can see the difference in pathways affecting the club’s existence as far as not having mini or junior programs, but the culture in NZ will keep the clubs strong due to the large following of the sport and the club rooms being a family environment.


Q: Sticking with the theme of club rugby.  What has been your experience with CW?  Can you offer an objective appraisal of the club’s strengths and weaknesses and areas to grow?

A:  I have seen changes over the years at CW. Mostly good. I see the focus changing from year to year.

Age grade rugby is becoming a bigger thing – bussing for mainland games, hosting, awards evening. The Kamloops 7s tournament gives the players a mini rugby tour experience. Nice for these players to have the recognition and team building experiences.

Registration used to go live quite late making it hard to catch the players (no fault of CW’s with the multi registration process including Club, BC Rugby and Rugby Canada) because the competing sports had their registration posted early. Registration is now earlier allowing the club to secure those players.

Areas to grow – more pictures and write ups regarding Club happenings for all levels. You have been great with the write ups, but you can’t write what you don’t know! Maybe all managers or directors should be told what sort of information is to be relayed and you can have more information fed to you. Less and less are new players joining due to word of mouth it is now more internet and social media searches.


Q: You have volunteered in many capacities with CW.  What were the most enjoyable experiences and why?

A: For each level I have been involved in at CW there are enjoyable experiences:

Minis – watching the kids run around like a pack of chickens after the ball. Seeing them skipping away from the field talking a million miles a minute from sheer excitement.

Juniors – U14s is definitely the age group for “ah ha” moments. Most are afraid to tackle at the start of the season and have no idea what a ruck is, however by the end of their stint at U14 they are a totally different player with a huge growth in their skills.

Seniors – With the age range of the players I find it very interesting finding out where they are at in life and where they have come from. The road trips are probably most enjoyable because I get to see the players off the field and get to know them as a person.


Q: Kerri, if it is not too personal, might we ask you what is your area of employment?  What do you like about your work?

A: I am employed with a police agency. I organize and disclose the police files to Crown for charge approvals. My work can have pressures with tight timelines, but I think I work well under the pressure. I would much rather be busy than have nothing to do!


Q: Finally, again the club thanks the Cooks – Aaron, former Assistant of our Senior Women’s team and currently performing the same role with our Senior Men’s coaching team, the roles your daughters have played, from Minis to Age Grade, including Renee coaching and Kerri, Volunteer Superiore. How do you see your family’s future in Canada generally and with rugby specifically?

A: If there is rugby being played, I see our family being there even if it is just supporting from the sidelines.
(Ed. - Gotta love this response!)

Thank you for your time, and thoughtful and honest answers, Kerri.  Thank you, Aaron, and girls for your giving back.  We are lucky to have Kerri Cook and family on the Tricolor team.

The Women’s 1st Division team will be playing Comox at 11:30 today. Come to the House to see Kerri in action, managing the team!! It is a double-header, with Men's Islanders Vs Burnaby Lake RFC, following.