One of B.C.’s top young rugby prospects will be keeping his talents right at home.
Okanagan Mission Huskies standout Sam Overton has signed on with the UBC Okanagan Heat men’s team.
The winner of the first ever Courtney Walls Bursary, Overton turned down offers from more established schools to stay to remain in Kelowna where the game continues to evolve.
“It’s going to be a really good experience to be part of the revolution of rugby at UBC Okanagan,” said Overton on his choice to attend UBC Okanagan in the fall. “There’s a lot of funding and effort put forward for it this year and I’m really looking forward to be part of it.”
As captain of the OKM Huskies rugby squad he led the team to a 10-1 record and a fifth place finish at the provincial championships, the school’s best ever finish. After the championships, the six foot 195 pound hard running flanker who can also play eight and inside center, was one of 10 recipients of a B.C. Rugby scholarship.
Entering into the Faculty of Management at UBC’s Okanagan campus Sam is preparing to play the role of student athlete and balance his schedule appropriately.
“I’m really going to have to work on organizing my time and stuff and there isn’t going to be as much time sitting at home and watching TV.
“It’s mainly going to be sport and sitting around studying. That’s something you’ve got to accept going into it,” admits Overton.
Sam’s desire to help build rugby into a major sport at his new school is “the main reason I’m really looking forward to being part of UBCO, as it [the UBC Okanagan Heat] develops into a critical team in BC, and it becomes up there with UBC Vancouver for instance.”
Rob O’Brien, the rugby coach for the Heat and the driving force behind rugby’s growth on campus thinks this is a great place for Overton to develop to his full potential and reach his goals.
“We are committed to developing the Heat pugby program into one of the best in the country,” said O’Brien. “In order to make this happen, we need to attract top players and retain quality homegrown players such as Sam.” points out O’Brien. “With our program being so young Sam will have an opportunity to play an important role earlier in his university career than he would have at other schools.”
Sam has watched rugby grow since moving to Kelowna over three years ago from England, where rugby is one of the top sports, and is excited to help grow the sport at a new and growing university with a new rugby program. Overton loves what he sees in the future of rugby and the way the Canadians play the game.
“Players in Canada put a lot of work ethic (into the sport), and they are a lot more physical then England, and they are fitter as a whole. The rise of Canada’s skill in rugby is just increasing, and it’s really cool to see how a country can develop in a sport with hard work and effort.”