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Coquitlam rugby player recognized as champion for the sport

Xavier Lee plays for United Rugby Club's Div. 3 senior men's team.
United's Xavier Lee breaks from the pack during a recent match.

A player for United Rugby Club is getting national attention for his contributions to the sport.

Xavier Lee, a flanker for the Coquitlam-based team who also plays for its eight-man squad and helps out with coaching at Dr. Charles Best Secondary, is one of 40 players, coaches and even a groundskeeper named a Gilbert Champion by the kit and equipment company, Gilbert Rugby Canada.

Lee started playing rugby when he was in middle school and currently plays for United’s senior men’s Division 3 side that was ousted from the BC Rugby quarter-finals in a 44-22 loss to Vancouver Rowing Club last Saturday, April 20, at the Brockton Oval in Vancouver.

Lee is also part of the Fraser Valley Venom regional U20 team that competes for the Dunbar Keg provincial championship.

“Xavier is not just a player, but a passionate advocate for rugby’s growth and influence, both on and off the field,” said a statement on Gilbert’s website.

Lee said his passion for the sport was ignited by the guidance and mentorship he received from his high school coach at Best, Kevin Startin.

Gilbert launched its Champions program in 2022 to recognize rugby players, coaches and builders who are helping grow the game across the country.

According to Rugby Canada, almost 48,000 players participate in the sport in 309 clubs from youth to masters.