Ponoka’s Clay Guthrie has managed to balance his love of rodeo and rugby.
The 18-year-old athlete recently returned from an international rugby exhibition match in Hong Kong. He represented Team Canada on the U19 Rugby 15s mens team at matches held the last week of March.
“I was in Hong Kong for two weeks playing the U19 Hong Kong rugby team,” said Guthrie in an email.
“I’ve only been playing for two years now, I started back in grade 10.”
He’s taken that love of the game into a major competitive experience. Guthrie also plays for the the Red Deer Titans rugby team, which took him on the path to playing in Hong Kong.
“Since I’m so new to the sport I haven’t had a lot of time to go travel with rugby but I look forward to what comes next for me and the opportunities that may come out of this,” he explained.
To get ready for the trip, Guthrie and the rest of the team took in some training in Arizona. They played some games against the U.S. team in January to prepare for the challenge.
“I’m a big team guy and I like physical sports. Rugby is where it’s at for me,” said Guthrie, who also has his amateur rodeo card.
The trip brought more than just strong rugby competition. It also gave him a taste of different cultures.
“There is so much to learn from trips like this whether it be rugby or just the different cultures that you are in and the new people that surround you.”
He’s finding a way to balance the rodeo aspect and the rugby part of his life. “Once I made the Canadian team then we put rodeo on a break for a little bit.”
As his rugby experience grows, Guthrie would like to continue to represent Canada in the older teams.
“I would like to work my way up to higher levels of rugby while still wearing the maple leaf on my chest,” said Guthrie, adding that he’d like to get into the U20 and U21 teams.
As for the games against Hong Kong, Canada’s U18 men clinched the three-match series 2-1 after defeating Hong Kong 14-5 in the final game.