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Rugby Canada to expand centre of excellence, adding high-performance facility

Canada's James Pritchard scores his team's opening try against the U.S.A. during during first half Rugby World Cup Qualifying action in Toronto on Saturday August 24, 2013.

Chris Young/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Rugby Canada has begun work on a new high performance facility at the Canadian Rugby Centre of Excellence.

The current rugby centre in suburban Victoria is just 18 months old but Rugby Canada has already outgrown some of the facilities. For example, the gym isn't big enough to accommodate the men's and women's teams at the same time.

Both national sevens squads are centralized at Langford, as well as other Canadian teams.

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The new two-storey building, across the road from the existing centre, will cover 18,000 square feet. Costs are estimated at $3.5 million to $4 million.

"It's a one-stop shop," said Mike Chu, Rugby Canada's general manager in charge of rugby operations and performance. "An athlete can come here in the morning, train. It's got a big kitchen area, dining area so they can eat. Study room so they can study. (Video) analysis rooms. All in one facility."

"We've just outgrown our current facilities very quickly," he added.

Chu, who spent seven years with the New Zealand Rugby Union before coming to Canada, said the new performance facility will be world-class.

Monday's ground-breaking ceremony will be followed by 12 to 18 months construction.

Rugby Canada, which has partnered with the City of Langford on both the original centre and the expansion, is launching a $2.5-million fundraising campaign to help meet the capital costs.

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