Director of Rugby
Island Academy Head Coach
Born and raised in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, former Rugby Canada International Robin MacDowell is an athlete-centered coach who has been coaching sports at all levels for over 27 years.
Robin grew up playing multiple sports, showing promise in more than one discipline. Robin made the choice to move from the Valley to Europe at 19 years old to pursue a professional rugby career in both France and Italy. After several years, he returned home to attend University, where he played on the University of Victoria varsity team, as well as to realize his dream of playing Sevens Rugby for Canada.
As a former international athlete that travelled the world over as both player and coach, Robin has a strong understanding of what it takes to get to the next level and he knows how to help elite athletes achieve success. His true passion lies with helping athletes reach their goals at every level of the game – from grass roots to high performance.
Robin is passionate about growing the game across North America, having attended thousands of training sessions and working with keen students, from children to the professional level. Robin has coaching positions at the University of Victoria, University of British Columbia, and University of Regina.
Robin has been highly successful in coaching various select teams, including the U19-Barbarians. He has seen many of his players go on to play at the highest level of the sport, attending many international tournaments and festivals.
Robin also has vast experience coaching at the international level, most notably the five years he spent with the Mexican Women’s National Sevens team. He coached and lead the team through the 2018 Rugby World Cup 7s in San Francisco, as well as during their Olympic qualification and subsequent appearance.
For the past 6 years, Robin has worked with the Canadian Men's and Women's 7s pathway programs.
Prairie Academy Head Coach
Brett began playing rugby in his first year of high school and has continued in the sport to this day. He played Sr. Men's rugby in Regina from 2008 - 2015, as well represented Saskatchewan at the U18 and U20 levels in 2008 and 2009. He had the opportunity to play rugby for the University of Regina while completing a degree in Education. Brett began the transition into coaching while in University, starting at the high school level and progressing to the provincial U18 level. Currently, Brett is also had experience coaching at the University of Regina, as well an assistant coach with the MacDowellRugby Elite 7s team.
Brett has been our lead academy coaching since 2017.
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Prairie Academy Coach
Mark grew up in England, and started playing rugby at the age of 4. Since moving to Saskatchewan, he has represented the province at the U16, U18, U20, U23 and Senior Men's levels. In 2010, Mark was invited to trials for the Rugby Canada U17 team. In Summer 2017, Mark represented the Prairie Wolf Pack in the Canadian Rugby Championships. His current club is the Regina Rogues in Regina, SK.
Mark is also the kicking specialist coach for the MacDowellRugby Academy, as he is one of Saskatchewan's most proven kickers, both tactically and for points.
Nishant is a graduate of the Paul J. Hill School of Business at the University of Regina, with a major in Finance. He has a variety of business experience, spanning areas such as marketing, sales, analytics, and general administration, through both professional and university-related roles. Nishant served as Co-Chief Investment Officer for the University of Regina Investing fund for three semesters. His background in rugby includes playing and coaching roles, as well as work and executive board positions within Saskatchewan. Nishant is currently a law student at the University of Western Ontario.
Nishant's playing career started early in high school, and in his senior year he started training with Robin MacDowell through the newly created university program at the University of Regina. Since then, Nishant has had a varying background in both 15s and 7s, playing at the U18 provincial level, the senior club level in Regina and Ottawa, and the university level for the University of Regina 7s team. Nishant has also represented the Regina Prairie Fire Senior Men's select team, and the Dog River Howlers select touring team.