Thursday, May 9, 2019
~ by Mary P Brooke, West Shore Voice News
As part of their sports community culture of giving back, top women’s rugby athletes met with students in the west shore and Greater Victoria area this week, ahead of the HSBC Women’s Sevens tournament this upcoming weekend in Langford.
Today at Belmont Secondary School in Langford, the USA Women’s Sevens team worked on the hot sunny field with about 20 students in the Sports Performance Rugby Class. The Grade 9 to 12 students with a range of skill levels were excited but attentive and giving it their all as they warmed up, passed the ball, tried lifts, and took in some tips from the international-level athletes.
“They will spend an hour with the team and then get some autographs,” said Belmont teacher Charlotte Haley, who teaches the Sports Performance Rugby Class.
The practice sessions was held on the back field on the artificial turf that was donated by the City of Langford and recently celebrated for its contribution to the school’s profile of activities.
“They will do some skill development, get exposure to international athletes, and experience some role modeling with strong athletes,” said Haley who also teaches at the Rugby Canada Development Academy at the nearby national rugby training centre in Langford where the next generation of women’s rugby leaders are developed.
USA team co-captains Nicole Haevirland, 24, and Lauren Doyle, 28, were on the back field at Belmont today with the rest of their team of 12 players for this tournament (24 players in residency out of Chula Vista, California).
” Mentoring these younger players gives a sense of fulfillment to the professionals,” said Aalina Tambani, media manager for the USA team. “They make an impact on younger players who can test out their skills and see how they can improve their game,” said Tambani.
A few other west shore SD62 schools have enjoyed some rugby coaching this week. The team from France was at Spencer Middle School in Langford on Monday, the team from Ireland went out to EMCS high school in Sooke on Wednesday, Canada’s team was at Ruth King Elementary on Wednesday.
Among SD61 schools getting in on the action, the team from Brazil was at Esquimalt High School yesterday, and China’s team was at Spectrum Community School today.
The USA team has been in the top 4 in the standings at all four of the stops in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series so far. Ahead of this weekend’s competition at Westhills in Langford, the USA is in 3rd place, with cumulatively only two points behind Canada. Canada stands 2nd, with 20 points.
High school is the place to start. Canada Women’s Sevens captain Ghislaine Landry started playing rugby in high school. She’s been with the Canada Women’s Sevens since 2011 and rose to playing in the World Series in 2012.
After this weekend, the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series final game will be in Biarritz, France on June 15 and 16.
All the team captains met for their traditional Captain’s Photo yesterday evening on the 14th hole at Bear Mountain Resort with views of the city, ocean and mountains as a backdrop.
The Canada Women’s Sevens tournament comes up this weekend Saturday May 11 and Sunday May 12 at Westhills Stadium. | Tickets and more info: Canada Women’s Sevens – May 11 & 12
Rugby Canada organizers are hoping for a sell-out crowd for the Canada Women’s Sevens tournament on Mother’s Day weekend. The event has become a popular event for sports fans and families in Langford and the south island region over the past several years.