Queen’s alumnus captains Canada

Lucas Rumbal named national captain for series against Russia 

Rumball playing for Team Canada.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

From Queen’s to the national stage, former Gaels men’s rugby player Lucas Rumball has taken his game to a new level since graduating in 2017. 

In June, Rumball was named captain of the Canadian men’s rugby team for the side’s second of three Summer Series fixtures against Russia. It marked the first time the Gaels alumnus received captaincy honours over his more than 20-cap national career. 

Rumball’s four years at Queen’s were met with plenty of ups and few downs. The flanker, who came to the school in 2013, kicked off his Gaels career winning three consecutive OUA championships before Rugby Canada came knocking. 

Captaining the Gaels to a Turner Trophy and winning OUA MVP honours in the 2015-16 season, Rumball was selected to join the national team as part of their junior development program.  He made his debut for Canada’s senior team a year later, in February of 2016.

Though he grew comfortable playing in an international capacity through his three years with Canada’s rugby program, Rumball credited his time leading the Gaels for his smooth transition.

“The program at Queen’s is really professional,” Rumball told The Journal during a phone interview. “The national team is the national team—[a] little bit of a step up—but there were a lot of similarities between the two programs. Lots of film work, lots of study, lots of recap, lots of focus on detail.”

The biggest difference at the international level, he added, is the competition—not the training. 

“The pace of the game and the details, the small things, are a lot different. You need to be on 24/7. You can’t take a play off at all or you’ll be exposed for it.”

Despite their best efforts, Rumball and his team Canada teammates fell short in all three of their Summer Series matches. The senior national squad lost considerably to Russia, Scotland and the United States, scoring a total of just 47 points in three games to their opponent’s 133. 

“It was obviously not what we wanted. We finished on a decent note, but we still let some stuff slip in crucial moments,” Rumball said. “We had very big individual errors, poor moments in the game.”

“Obviously, it’s disappointing. [Y]ou want to win every game and do your best when you’re out there, but sometimes it just doesn’t come off.”

Players on the national team are currently home in their respective provinces to prepare for the upcoming Canadian Rugby Championships, set for early August. 

Rumball, who will represent his native province of Ontario at the Championships, said playing rugby professionally remains something he hopes to do. 

“Nothing has come up with that so far,” he said , adding with the responsibilities of playing for Canada, finding a pro contract hasn’t come easy.  

“It’s a busy time for Rugby Canada, we have a lot of qualifying games and stuff to do, so it’s tough to get a contract.”

With the recent birth of Major League Rugby (MLR)—a professional American rugby league founded in March this year—Rumball sees a potential future in the sport long term. MLR featured seven teams in its first season, and four teams will join the league for the coming season. 

One of them, the Ontario Arrows, is based out of Toronto—Rumball’s hometown, no less. 

“A team in Toronto would be a good avenue for me,” he said. “That’s where I think I’ll start.”

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