TORONTO — Evan Olmstead was 12 when he met Canadian international Jamie Cudmore at the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
The Olmstead family was living in Australia and John Olmstead, his late father, took the family to see Canada in action. Evan, who had just started playing rugby himself, met Cudmore after Canada’s game against Tonga in Wollongong.
“He stole one of the water bottles from the team drink rack and gave it to me,” recalled Evan, who was born in Vancouver. “I’ve still got that water bottle in my bedroom. It was a pretty cool scene when I was 12 years old to see him.
“He’s still massive but obviously to a 12-year-old the guy seems like a giant.”
The pre-teen had just started playing rugby himself. Twelve years later, the 37-year-old Cudmore and 24-year-old Olmstead are part of Canada’s 2015 Rugby World Cup squad and playing together in the second row.
Today, Olmstead stands six foot five and weighs 247 pounds. Cudmore, one of six Canadians to play in four Rugby World Cups, is listed at 6-5 and 255 pounds.
Canada opens Saturday against Ireland in Cardiff.
The Canadian Press