Four lakecity girls rugby players are lacing up their boots this week at the Vancouver Sevens Invitational.
Held as a precursor to the HSBC Men’s World Rugby Sevens Series event at BC Place, the tournament will take place at the University of British Columbia over two days (March 5-6) as a staging ground for elite teams preparing for the upcoming summer of rugby sevens.
From Williams Lake, 16 year old Jade Meldrum has been chosen to the U18 Thunder Indigenous team, while Grace Turner, Ivy Watson and Abby Urquhart, all 15 years old, are suiting up for the B.C. Interior U16 team at the tournament versus teams from Ontario, Calgary and Edmonton, B.C. mainland and B.C. island.
On day one, the girls’ U16 team defeated the Calgary Irish RC 27-0, tied BC Blue 5-5 and lost to the Ontario Junior Blues 22-0.
Meldrum’s division will see teams compete from Edmonton, two B.C. squads, Calgary, Ontario and the Rugby Canada Development Academy.
Games at the tournament will wrap up Friday, and their Williams Lake Junior Rustlers club coach Natasha Johnson said it should be a great opportunity to get back in the swing of outdoor rugby following the winter months.
“We’ve been doing a lot of weight training and keeping their fitness up,” Johnson said. “The girls have spent some time on their own passing the ball around, but they’ll be fairly fresh tackling. They’ll start their high school season in the spring, and club rugby takes place in the fall.”
That said, Johnson thinks the four lakecity players won’t have missed a beat.
“The girls are very, very fit,” she said. “They’ve worked hard to keep their fitness up all year, and being a sevens style game where it’s mostly running and moving the ball I think they’ll just jump right back into it.”
She noted for three of the players — Ivy, Abby and Grace — it will be their first time playing as part of an elite tournament.