Rain de Guzman’s rugby adventure

27/09/2012 § Leave a comment


Moscrop Secondary product Rainiel de Guzman might seem a bit settled at Burnaby Lake, but his career so far has been frenetic. From cold, winter’s-night bus rides to and from practice, jetting off to New York to try out for the Philippines national team to playing against Cal-Berkeley, the twentysomething scrum half has carried his smile everywhere.

Rain took time to speak with Wanderer Sports after his team’s season opening win over Castaway Wanderers last weekend, and here are the results…

Patrick Johnston: Feeling good to be back at Burnaby? You’ve had a bit of an interesting ‘rugby route;’ this is your third season back, comfortable now?

Rain de Guzman: I think so, I had a junior year here, then went to UBC, then came back here and played Prems.

Eventually I actually ended up playing for the Philippines national team – we started a sevens program here [at Burnaby Lake] which was really great, because I’d never really played sevens before. But I managed to get hooked up with them [the Philippines team].

In terms of just being involved in the club, I’m part of the executive here and coaching mini-rugby. It’s great to really just give back, takes things full-circle, know what I mean? I stared out as a junior, now I’m helping little grade two and threes and fours develop their skills on Sunday.

Do you think that’s important, that this ‘giving back’ – that that’s a strength of your club? That it gives you a sense of what you’re about and what happens on the weekend?

Ya, I think so, it’s a really fun atmosphere that we bring here, to show people in other clubs and in Burnaby that we’re here to have a really good time; to just have fun and play sport in a place we love. It’s pretty sweet, it’s really nice to be part of this organization.

What was the path to going to play for the Philipines? That must have been pretty cool.

It was cool. I heard they had a team and that they had a bunch of guys from Australia that kind of started it. I got contacted when I played at UBC; I got picked up when we went to go play UC Berkeley. So I went to a tryout in New York and eventually made the ‘other’ trial roster and I went to New York again. Then we went to Shanghai – I got invited to go play in a team in Shanghai [Sevens in 2010] – so I got to play in the Philippines sevens team. It was pretty cool, ya.

Are you going to get called up again for them, you think?

I don’t know, it’s like a pay-to-play thing. Plus a lot of their players are based in Australia, right? I’m not a physical guy, I’m a play maker, a decision maker; a brain of the team. You kind of have to have that guy, I believe, around all the time. Being from North America, it’s hard for me to be around all the time if everybody else is from Australia.

But if they ever come here – I know that they are planning a couple tours to North America – I’d love to be involved again.

Are you thinking about maybe trying to play a season or two abroad? Are you happy here? What’re your future plans?

I don’t know, I’m just starting my career out as a driving instructor, you know, just to think past rugby, but I had a really great time in New York. The rugby culture is you get billeted by people that you know over there, so I had a great time in New York; a doctor hosted me over there, in Brooklyn. I’d love to go back, he said that he’d host me if I want to go back and play a season or a half season. It’s in the back of my mind for sure.

You’re a driving instructor?!

Yeah, yeah, I have my own company! ‘Rain City Driving School’! Hahaha, Vancouver right?!

When did you start that?

Uh, a year, year-and-a-half ago. My dad’s been doing it for fifteen years. I did my degree in geography and didn’t really know what I wanted to do after it, so, with the economy down, I decided to start my own job.

Good days playing at UBC?

Oh yeah, yeah, played with a bunch of guys who now play at Capilanos, like Sam Penhall and all those guys. It was fun, really, playing behind them, and they throw crazy parties. And Spence McTavish is a crazy guy, hahaha, crazy guy!

You don’t miss the ‘big loop’ though do you?

You know, I’d never been that fit before. I miss the fact that I had a six pack. But yeah, I’ve never played on such an icy field, it was so cold and so bitter. I lived out in East Van, so I’d go to practice and then after practice I’d bus it back home on the 25 [bus] and it was just the most horrible feeling, hahaha.

But yeah, it was good, I enjoyed my time at UBC, yeah!

Especially the Berkeley trip, that was fun.

What’s the plan for the season? What are you hoping happens personally for you and for the team?

For the team I hope we win the CDI, yeah, pretty basic.

But for me, I hope that I’m a consistent player this year. I got injured last year, so I wasn’t really able to play top level all too much, I want to play at the top or near the top the whole time, and have some fun. It was really fun today.

So no hopes to grow back your crazy hair cut or anything like that?

Maybe…that was pretty crazy hair. UBC, ya I was wild back in the day…

You’re a serious man now.

Yes, yes, very serious, you know, I have my own job, and my own business, so ya got to stay professional. Hahaha!


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