An impressive summer for Peninsula rugby player Liam Murphy-Burke is paying dividends even now.
The 18-year-old Semiahmoo Secondary graduate, who studies and plays at UBC, learned last Monday that he had been selected for Canada’s national U19 team, which heads overseas in February.
Murphy-Burke made the cut after impressing coaches at a tryout camp in Aldergrove in early December, but where he truly made his mark was months earlier, in August, when he led Team B.C. to a gold medal at Canadian U18 Rugby Championships.
“That’s kind of where many of us were first ID’d for the team, and I’d played with (the national program) before, so going into tryouts, I kind of felt like it was my spot to lose,” said Murphy-Burke, who has also played for Canada’s U17 team in the past.
“But still, it was tough. Anytime you have an opportunity like that – to represent your country – you don’t want to blow it.”
Murphy-Burke, a multi-sport star during his time at Semiahmoo Secondary, will play fly-half for the national side, which travels to England in 2012 – from Feb. 22 until March 4 – for training at Welbeck College and a handful of exhibition games against U.K. sides.
The appointment to the national team caps an impressive run on the rugby pitch for Murphy-Burke. In the past two years, he’s won a provincial title with the Bayside Sharks’ U17 team, played for Canada’s U17 side, won a national U18 title, and been named captain of UBC’s freshman team, for which he starred this fall.
UBC’s freshman side plays in the BC Rugby Union’s third division, and while Murphy-Burke is hoping to earn time with the school’s premier squad soon, he said the adjustment to playing against older competition was a challenge.
“It was a big step up – really big, but it’s been going really well,” he said.
In advance of his trip to England with the national team, Murphy-Burke is also seeking sponsorship – corporate or otherwise – as are many of his Canadian teammates. Anyone interested in helping sponsor the trip – total cost is about $2,000 per player – can contact Murphy-Burke at firstname.lastname@example.org or go his his Rugby Canada sponsor page.