Canada’s rugby success at the Summer Olympics has sparked an interest in the sport on the West Shore, as middle and high school girls look to follow in the footsteps of the Langford-based women’s team that took home a bronze in Rio de Janeiro.
Twenty-five girls turned up for the Westshore Rugby Football Club’s ‘Try Rugby’ event on Sept. 22, which pleased the club’s U14 coach Brittany Sims, but didn’t come as a total surprise, as she’s already seen interest grow post-Rio.
“A couple of our girls … came out just because of the Olympics,” Sims said. “We had one of our coaches talking to them last year trying to get them out and they weren’t really interested. And then they watched the Olympics and they were at our first practice this year.”
On Thursday evening, players learned some rugby fundamentals, including passing and tackling skills, as taught by Canada women’s 15s 2014 World Cup silver medallists Barbara Mervin and Latoya Blackwood. While some of those in attendance had previous rugby experience, several were first-timers who were given the opportunity to give a new sport a shot.
“We’re trying to continue to build on the West Shore and get more girls out,” Sims said.
Rio Olympic bronze medalist Megan Lukan was scheduled to be one of the event’s instructors, but had to cancel. Sims says there is a good chance the club will host another session with Lukan in the near future.
For more information on junior rugby on the West Shore, visit westshorerfc.com or contact Sims at email@example.com.