Rugby is a tradition at the school; we’ve been playing for decades. And by “we” I mean the boys. Finally, years overdue, we’re incredibly proud to announce the beginning of the SMUS girls rugby program! Over 50 girls have come out to practices since the start of second term, and the team now has up to 20 keen and committed girls who are in the midst of their first games. Most of the team has little to no rugby experience, but every girl is giving her all to this new fast-paced sport. We’ve all been working together to learn the basics of passing and tackling, and much more about the game itself.
The first exhibition game against Oak Bay was very informal – with a combined warm up with the opposition; however, the team learned incredible amounts about positioning and overall gameplay. We woke up the next day with bruises and sore necks (tokens of our hard work). With just a few more exhibition games before the competitive season starts, the girls hit the field tri-weekly, learning the proper techniques in rucks and tackles, working on fundamental skills, and ultimately learning that the only rule is that you must pass backwards. Training has been led by the talented Spencer Robinson, a rugby 7s guru and the founder of the UVIC Vikes Women’s Rugby program. With him are two wonderful UVIC rugby alumni, Stefani Hanson and Alya Govorchin, who both continue to play in the BC premiership for the Castaway Wanderers. A huge shout out to Hayley Watson for being the voice and the force behind this new team! Come out to the girls’ games whenever you can; we love the support!
Coach Stefs (Stefani Hanson):
“From a coaching perspective, I want the girls to not only become more skilled and talented athletes while they develop this season, but I also hope they have a sense of camaraderie with their teammates, with SMUS, and in the rugby community. The first two months of our inaugural season have been very successful. Those suicide passes that used to get thrown make a rare appearance. The tackler that used to be afraid to put a shoulder in is now excited for the opportunity. The girls who never played a sport before? Well now they are playing a rugby 7s – arguably one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. I am excited for our season to kick off after spring break and I am confident our hard work will give us some results this spring. Kudos to all the ladies who have taken on this opportunity and are ready to become a part of SMUS rugby history!”
By Saje Griffith and Oria James
This article appeared in the March edition of The Jag student newspaper. Click here to read the full edition.