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Half Backs and Half Wits win Abbotsford’s John Cannon Memorial Touch Rugby Tournament

Local players Kaitlyn Meier and Jacky Kuang awarded bursary
The annual John Cannon Memorial Touch Rugby Tournament took over Abbotsford’s Bateman Park on Saturday (Aug. 13). (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

The Half Backs and Half Wits have captured the 2022 John Cannon Memorial Touch Rugby Tournament title.

The annual event saw a handful of teams battle it out at Abbotsford’s Bateman Park on Saturday (Aug. 13).

Other teams with strong finishes at the event included: Lloyd’s Entourage, Vet and Rooks, Dora’s Explorers and the Heavy Setters.

Kaitlyn Meier and Jacky Kuang earned the annual bursary given to assist local rugby players who aspire to play at the highest level.

Meier played on several local rugby teams growing up, including the Abbotsford Rugby Football Club’s junior women’s team, the Yale Lions and the Fraser Valley Rugby Union.

She also represented Team BC at the U16 Western Championships in 2019. That team finished first at the Kelowna event beating out teams from Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Meier committed to the UBC Thunderbirds in 2021.

RELATED: Abbotsford’s Kaitlyn Meier signs with UBC Thunderbirds

Kuang also starred for Yale in high school and has developed into a strong player for the ARFC.

Cannon died at the age of 35 back in 2016 and he is recognized as one of the best rugby players to ever come out of Abbotsford.

Cannon’s stellar rugby career began while playing for W.J. Mouat, Abbotsford Senior and the Abbotsford Rugby Club. He went on to play for Canada’s Under 17 team on tours to England and Germany; Canada’s Under 19 team in France and Wales; and Canada’s Under 23 Pacific Pride Program.

RELATED: Abbotsford rugby star John Cannon dead at 35

He also played for Canada’s Senior National Team from 2001 to 2007 earning a total of 31 caps, competing in tournaments around the world. He also suited up for Canada in the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia, starting a game against the New Zealand All-Blacks in the tournament.

John’s professional rugby career began in 2001 playing for England’s Rotherham Rugby club then later for clubs in Coventry and Doncaster – all National Division One Clubs in the United Kingdom. In 2004 and 2005 John was named to the National Division One All-Star team and in 2006 was described by Rugby World Magazine as “perhaps the best centre outside the Premiership in England.”

His career came to an abrupt end in 2007. While attending a soccer game in England, he was the victim of an unprovoked mugging by a soccer hooligan. During the attack, he hit his head on a concrete curb, and was advised by brain specialists not to play rugby again.

He returned to B.C. in 2009 and volunteered as a coach with ARFC before his passing.

RELATED: John Cannon Memorial Fund established

Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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