KENSINGTON – A decision to follow his brother has paid off for Jordon Montgomery.
“I was going to play softball, but my brother (Dylon) was going to play rugby,” explained Montgomery. “I just decided to go with him.”
Now, in only his third year of playing rugby, the Kensington resident will attend this weekend’s final tryouts for the Canadian under-18 team in Kingston, Ont.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Montgomery in an interview with the Journal Pioneer. “I didn’t think I was going to make it.
“There were a lot of good guys there, and they all have like nine years experience on me.”
Montgomery, who played defensive lineman with the P.E.I. Varsity Tackle Football League-champion Summerside Clippers, leaves Friday morning. Participants will be a practice later Friday, all day Saturday and play a game Sunday before returning home.
“Jordon is very mobile, athletic and has a high work rate as a six-foot-six forward,” offered James Voye, who coached Montgomery with the provincial rugby team last summer.
Montgomery’s journey began trying out for the provincial under-18 team, and he was scouted at the Eastern Canadian championships in July. From there, Montgomery and Parker LeClair of North Bedeque were invited to a camp of about 40 invitees in British Columbia in October.
“Jordon was a dominant force in line-out set pierces for the U18 Abbies last summer at the Eastern Canadian championships,” assessed Voye. “His performance at this tournament was noticed by Ken Goodland (head of Rugby Canada player development), which earned Jordan an all-star selection and this U18 Canada opportunity.”
The part of rugby Montgomery likes best is it’s a team sport.
“You have to work together,” said Montgomery. “It’s not like hockey where one guy can control everything.
“In baseball, you can have your pitcher win the game for you and you can win 1-0 on a lucky hit. That’s not going to happen in rugby.
“You are not going to get a guy who can run the whole length of the field every time he touches it.”
Montgomery admits the game is played different at a national level compared to locally.
“Our rugby is you give your bigger guys the ball and they just run people over, and you just keep doing it over and over again,” explained Montgomery. “They do more passing, pass it all the way down and pass it all the way back.
“They are more structured than ours. There were a couple of other things, like getting people away from the ball on the ground, which I wasn’t used to, that I had to learn.”
Voye called Montgomery’s accomplishment “a huge step” for junior rugby on P.E.I.
“I consider it very important for Jordon’s teammates and younger players on P.E.I. to see that it is possible for Islanders to be selected to these camps, giving them a chance to develop, play at a higher level and represent their country,” continued Voye. “Hopefully, this sparks more interest in junior rugby on P.E.I.”
A look at Jordon Montgomery:
Parents: Dave and Rhonda Montgomery.
Position: Second row.
School: Grade 12 at Kensington Intermediate-Senior High School.
Team: Jordan played with the 2014 P.E.I. School Athletic Association Senior AA Boys Rugby League-champion Kensington Torchmen, coached by Todd Dyment.