Nfld. & Labrador

Swilers president Noel Browne gets big recognition from Rugby Canada

If it weren't for Noel Browne, rugby may have never taken hold in Newfoundland and Labrador, says the chair of Rugby Canada.

Swilers co-founder is getting Rugby Canada's Chair award

Rugby is a popular sport in Newfoundland and Labrador and Rugby Canada says that's largely because of Noel Browne. (Swilers Rugby Club/Facebook)

Dr. Noel Browne, a founder of the Swilers Rugby Football Club in St. John's, and its president for 20 years, has received big recognition from Rugby Canada.

The sport's national governing body is honouring Browne with its chair's award, given by its board of directors to people or organizations that have made "exceptional contributions to the sport in Canada."

"Without Noel, rugby may not have taken root in Newfoundland and Labrador," said Tim Powers, chair of Rugby Canada's board of directors.

"His influence on the game and the people the sport has developed extends across Canada and around the world."

Browne is himself an accomplished rugby player and coach, and played in both Ireland and Canada. He was captain of Newfoundland's rugby team when it won a national silver medal in 1974.

As a coach, he led the Swilers to a national silver medal.

"Noel Browne is the heart and soul of Newfoundland rugby," said Rod Snow, a Newfoundland player with a spot in Rugby Canada's hall of fame.

"Thanks to Dr. Browne's uncompromising resolve and vision, Newfoundland rugby has seen the fruition of world-class facilities, the foundation laid for five national championships, and an incredible number of Newfoundland rugby athletes competing on our national teams."

Browne is also a well-respected community physician. He received the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2016 for his contributions to both sports and medicine.

He will receive his award at a dinner in St. John's on Saturday.

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