Each year for the last few years, the Centaurs have hosted a tournament called the Roddy Allan tournament. This year, since there are so many new faces to the club, I thought it would be a great idea to let you know who he was. His picture is just inside the door to the clubhouse, on the right, inside the trophy case. But more on that later.
Roddy Allan was a great player, and rugby coach of the Minis and Juniors for the Burlington Centaurs Rugby Club for several years. Roddy came over from Scotland, played for the Niagara Wasps for several seasons, and then played for Burlington for eight more seasons.
Roddy was an excellent coach of the minis, and juniors. The Under-12 teams Roddy coached were undefeated at most tournaments. The young players liked and respected him, developing tremendously while he coached. While Roddy played for Burlington, he went up and down playing for the firsts and seconds, and was eventually named captain of the 2nds. While captain our 2nd team experienced our greatest success in terms of win-loss-draw, going 63-5-2 over a 5 season span from 2006-2010, including one season undefeated, a perfect 14-0.
Playing with him was always a great challenge, as he was always just on the edge between getting us a card and setting up the scoring of yet another try. As a captain, he was that guy that was always about the pitch, helping to direct traffic. You never worried about whether he was going to win a ruck or not as you just knew it was going to be won.
One of my favourite Roddy stories was while at training one night, during a live game activity. We both went into a ruck, and both fell over, thanks to someone hitting us both from behind. It must have been quite a sight, watching both of us faceplant over top of a ruck. As we got up, the both of us, in our middle to late thirties, groaned at the same time about how that felt on our backs and necks. As we trotted back to the next play, we glanced at each other, shook our heads and went on having fun.
Before our time, the seconds team were known as “The Reds”. As a part of that, we took it upon ourselves to wear red electrical tape during games somewhere on our kit. In this tradition, I keep Roddy’s spirit on the field by still wearing the red tape on my cleats during games to this day.
One of the last games that Roddy played with Burlington was the annual away fixture in Niagara Wasps RFC, as mentioned, also his first club here in Canada. He has a lot of people at that club who have memories of Roddy. To keep that connection alive, we also play an annual Allan Cup game for a Quaich, a traditional Scottish cup. This particular one is hand-crafted by a friend of Roddy’s in Scotland, brought to Canada by Roddy’s family and provided by them to us for the annual event. The Quaich is kept for the year in the clubhouse of the team which won the game, and is currently at the Burlington Rugby Club on display, along with picture of Roddy.
I miss Roddy, his gentle nature and his great rugby sense. He was a good person to know and a great person to just be around. I hope, if you’ve read this far, to aspire to be as good a person, as good a rugby player as my friend Roddy Allan.
Good luck to everyone in the Roddy Allan tournament; please be safe and have a great time playing the sport they play in heaven!