International Event Opening Doors for Local Womens Rugby Players
When four of the world’s top 10 womens international rugby teams come to Chatham-Kent this Friday, it will provide a unique event not only for the community, but in particular for local womens rugby players.
This season, the Kent Havoc Rugby Football Club, who plays out of the very same field, the Chatham-Kent Community Athletic Complex that will be used for Friday’s International games featuring South Africa versus England, and Canada against the USA, offers both a senior womens and junior womens program. Havoc Womens coach Brian Hall thinks that watching the talent displayed at this event will show many local womens rugby players what they’re capable of,
“Many of our girls play the game because it is a social game, and vastly different than other sports offered to women, said Hall, who also coached the Blenheim Bobcats girls rugby team to a Kent Championship this year. “Seeing these National teams play on our home pitch is exciting, and shows our ladies what is possible. They can see how the game can be played, the fitness and physicality, and they can perhaps see a way to reach for that level of play.”
Womens rugby is one of Chatham-Kent’s fastest growing games, going from only a half dozen women in 2009 who were forced to practice with the men, to 57 women registered this year for the junior and senior womens programs, and three competitive high school girls rugby programs functioning at UCC, CKSS, and Blenheim.
Friday’s international event, highlighted by the TekSavvy Kent Cup between Canada and the United States, the 6th and 5th ranked teams in the world respectively, serves not only as a great opportunity to showcase high calibre rugby to local fans, but also to expose the game to new women in Chatham-Kent. Although, according to Hall, the game can seem overwhelming at first, he said the game is actually safe and fun,
“Watching the game can be a little intimidating, especially to spectators who don’t really know the game. Statistically, Rugby is a safer game than Football, and Women’s Soccer, Basketball, and Volleyball. It seems counterintuitive, but while Rugby is a contact sport, contact is not the main feature of the game like it is in Football.”
For some members of the Kent Havoc womens teams, playing on the international stage isn’t too far off. Three Kent Havoc Junior players from this year’s squad, Breanne Nicholas, Amber Nicholas, and Tegan Williams, all made Team Ontario squads which will compete at the Nationals in mid-August. All three are Blenheim District High School students and were a part of Hall’s Kent winning team this spring.
When asked about seeing Kent Havoc girls playing at the National level, Hall said these three, and others have a chance in the near future, “I am 100% certain that there are 3 and maybe as many as 6 girls on our squad who had a legitimate shot this year, so I think we will see more in the future.”
Friday’s events kick off with South Africa playing England at 5pm, followed by the TekSavvy Kent Cup featuring Canada versus the USA. All four teams are ranked in the top 10 worldwide, and are competing in the Nations Cup, a larger event with the remainder of the scheduled games being held in Oakville.
Ticket information can be found at the following link for Friday’s games: http://havocrugby.com/womensinternational/