Good news! One of our local legends will be inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Rugby, England, November 10.
Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame member, and Ottawa native, Hillcrest High Grad, of Ottawa Irish lore, an Eastern Ontario stalwart for years, and, oh yes, Canada’s most-capped and longest-serving team captain, Al Charron was one of the most dominant loose forwards in the world during the 1990s.
Al played in four Rugby World Cups for Canada and managed the side at a fifth, in 2007. His record of 76 caps stood for 14 years until broken in the summer of 2017. Standing 6’5” tall and weighing close to 270 lbs. in his playing days, Al cut an imposing figure on the field and opponents feared and admired him in equal measure for his high work-rate and uncompromising play. A fine leader, Charron captained the Canadian national team 25 times – a record he still shares with Gareth Rees. He was also a member of Canada’s squad at the inaugural Rugby World Cup Sevens in 1993 and turned out for the world-famous Barbarians five times. Professionally he played club rugby for Bristol and Moseley in England and with Dax in France.
Al made his debut against Argentina in 1990 and made his final appearance at the 2003 Rugby World Cup against Tonga. He was also a member of the inaugural Rugby World Cup Sevens squad in 1993. Al ‘The Blade’ played for the famous Barbarians five times and also as part of the World 15s squad that faced Argentina to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 1999. He played his club rugby in Canada for the Ottawa Irish, leading the club to a decade-long Ontario club dominaiton. While playing with Mosley and Bristol he was voted Player of the Season for 1996/97 and 1998/99 respectively, and was awarded the BBC West Rugby Player of the Year award in 1999. To round out his accomplishments, Al was inducted into the Ontario Rugby Hall of Fame, and the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame, and is recognized as being one of the top 100 athletes to come from Ottawa. A true ambassador for the sport of rugby, and for Canada, Al joined Rugby Canada full-time in January 2013 as the Manager of Player Advancement and Alumni Relations.
As a mark of respect for his contribution to rugby, not only in Canada but worldwide, Rugby Canada’s national training centre bears his name.
The five World Rugby Hall of Fame inductees this year are: Felipe Contepomi (Argentina), Al Charron (Canada), Rob Andrew (England), Fabien Pelous (France) and Phaidra Knight (USA).
“The latest set of inductions includes some real legends, players who have helped to shape the image of rugby and inspire generations of fans. They all have contributed immensely to the enjoyment we have all felt watching top-level rugby over the decades. Each of these five inductees has made a positive impression on the sport, in their own countries and around the world, that will last the test of time.”
For more information about the World Rugby Hall of Fame click here.