Women’s adidas Premiership to kick off this weekend

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Andrew Smith

Vancouver, BC: The 2012 adidas Premiership, British Columbia’s elite women’s rugby club competition kicks off this weekend with four matches across the Lower Mainland.

Women’s Adidas Premiership – Sat. February 4th:

United Rugby Club at Capilano RFC (Klahanie Park) 11:30am

UVic Vikes at Burnaby Lake Rugby Club (Burnaby Lake Sports Complex) 11:30am

SFU Rugby at Bayside RFC (South Surrey Athletic Park) 11:30am

Velox Valkyries at Meraloma Rugby Club (Connaught Park) 11:30am

2012 Season Preview:

In recent years the adidas Premiership has featured a plethora of national team athletes including Mandy Marchak (Capilano RFC), Brittany Waters (Meraloma Rugby Club), Barb Mervin (Velox Valkyries), Marlene Donaldson (Velox Valkyries), Stevi Schnoor (United Rugby Club), Anna Schnell (Burnaby Lake), and Julia Sugawara (Burnaby Lake). In 2012, the next generation of British Columbia’s top athletes will take to the pitch to contest for the coveted Harris Memorial Cup.

Reigning champions Burnaby Lake Rugby Club will look to add to their impressive trophy haul in 2011 when the program took home the Anna Schnell Cup (Lower Mainland championship), Harris Memorial Trophy (provincial championship) and BC Sevens Series provincial title.

Looking to knock Burnaby Lake off their perch are Island titans Velox Valkyries, a squad that took home their second straight Vancouver Island championship this past Fall. The Valkyries have restocked their roster and have had plenty of time to dwell on their agonizingly close 17-13 loss in last year’s provincial final.

SFU Rugby Club returns to the top tier this season and will look to prove themselves against premiership sides Capilano RFC and United Rugby Club. Having retained the bulk of their roster, South Surrey’s Bayside Sharks will look to build on their impressive Fall season where they narrowly lost out to Burnaby in the Lower Mainland championship by a 6-0 score line. Like several other clubs in the adidas Premiership, Meraloma Rugby Club have bolstered their veteran core with a number of UBC Thunderbirds recruits as the university side will not be fielding a team this Spring season.

The adidas Premiership squads will be contesting for four playoff berths with the semifinals slated for May 5th and the provincial championship scheduled for May 12th. Here is a look at the eight clubs competing for the title this season.

BURNABY LAKE RUGBY CLUB

(Burnaby/ Vancouver Rugby Union)

2011 regular season record: 8-0 (1st)

2011 playoffs: 2-0 (Premiership Champions)

Last Premiership title: 2011

Key additions: UBC players Haily Glendinning and Carolin McKewan, will look to crack the BLRC Premier squad. Alicia and Desiree Noger from Kamloops by way of Abbotsford will also be testing the Premier waters. Jocelyn Barrieau is shifting from Quebec to play Premeir in BC.

Key returnees: The team will be lead by Katie Larson, Julia Sugawara , Kim Donaldson as well as Corrine Jacobsen who is returning from a hand injury incurred while playing for the Canadian national team.

Key departures: Inside centres can relax as Kary Steele has hung up the boots this year. Marley Harris is busy policing and has relocated to Victoria.

Coaches perspective – Walter Brandl: “Burnaby will be sporting a new look back line with a number of talented players playing new positions. I expect some growing pains while we settle into a set line-up. The good news is we can ride on the experience of these players while they learn their new jobs. Up front, Burnaby looks to be slightly stronger in the pack with a number of “depth” players providing insurance against the inevitable injury bug. We have been working on new slow ball options to take advantage of the mobility and trying to turn chicken excrement into chicken salad, that is making good use of bad ball.”

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