Rugby player from Chatham looks to ‘prove’ his worth on national team

Tyler Doran playing rugby. (Photo courtesy of Tyler Doran).

A 25-year-old rugby player from Chatham is getting ready to represent his country internationally as a member of the Canadian Rugby League.

Tyler Doran, who plays lock on the Canada Wolverines rugby team, is flying to Serbia on Thursday for a 10-day Balkans tour, with stops in Serbia and Bosnia.

Doran said the opportunity to play as a member of a national team is an amazing opportunity.

“There are two different types of rugby — there’s rugby union and rugby league,” he said. “I predominately have played union, this is only my second year playing league so actually getting the call-up and knowing that I get to represent our country is amazing.”

Doran said he was called up to compete with the Wolverines for this tour in August.

When he’s not at practice, Doran said he spends time at the gym and watches what he eats in order to maintain a certain level of fitness for the upcoming competition. However, in addition to Doran’s commitment to the Wolverines, he’s also a student at Lambton College, studying massage therapy.

“Trying to balance school and this trip is a bit nerve-racking but ultimately I’m just excited for this opportunity,” said Doran. “It’s a once in a lifetime thing and I wouldn’t miss it.”

The 25-year-old said he hasn’t played at this level in rugby before and does feel some added pressure as he prepares for the games.

“Especially with this being my first time, I want to prove that I was worth the pick and it wasn’t a mistake,” he said. “Since it does count for international rankings, we really want to put our best foot forward to make sure Canada is ranked the best it can be.”

The Wolverines will be travelling and competing alongside their female counterparts, the Canada Ravens, which serves as a first in national rugby league history. As a male athlete, Doran said it holds significance for him and he’s glad to be a part that history.

“We play the same sport. We all practice together for the most part and it’s one giant community,” he said. “We’re all friends, we’ve known each other for a long time so it’s just nice to actually do something together and share that experience.”

The national team is made up of players from different Canadian provinces, but of those from Ontario, Doran said some of his teammates are from areas such as Sarnia, Norfolk County, and Waterloo. The Wolverines are scheduled to play three matches, two in Serbia and one in Bosnia, over the course of a 10-day tour.