Girls’ rugby takes hold in Rupert

It’s one of the most popular games on the globe and for the first time in recent memory, it’s being played by females in Prince Rupert.

It’s one of the most popular games on the globe, though not so much in Canada, but for the first time in recent memory, it’s being played by females in Prince Rupert.

Rugby 15s (and sevens when there aren’t enough participants) have always been a part of the Prince Rupert fabric of sporting culture, but usually dominated by males.

Over spring break, that all changed when a group of dedicated, passionate players and coaches got together to bring rugby to Charles Hays Secondary (CHSS) by way of a cohesive girls’ team.

“It was really Lindsey (Brise) and a bunch of the girls practicing with the guys that started it and got it going. I was lucky enough to be able to jump in and coach,” said inaugural program coach Amanda Barney.

The CHSS Hurricanes’ girls team played multiple games against regional opponents on March 20 and 21 in pre-season sevens, and while they may not have come out on top in their matches, the strides the girls made on the pitch were both encouraging and a display of how far they’ve come, playing as a team from scratch.

“Some of them know the rules,” said Barney during the play day.

“We’ve been practicing for just over a month and we’ve been doing some video review, but none of them had actually played a game [until now].”

While the Hurricanes played against the Smithers Gryphons in the final game on March 21 at CHSS, the Gryphons were able to gain a territorial advantage at the start of each half and scored a couple tries.

But Rupert notched some completions on rushes of their own, and never were they blown out on the scoreboard.

“It’s groundbreaking. They did amazing. They played with class and the other coaches and players were blown away by what we’ve accomplished in a month and I’m really proud,” said Barney.

“[We] tackled probably better than anyone else, so it was really remarkable,” she added.

“Hopefully by the time the regular season starts we can expect to win. If this is the foundation for the program then I have high hopes.”