VICTORIA – The final stop on the Canada West Women’s Rugby 7s Series is set for this weekend, as the University of Victoria hosts the third event on the 2018 schedule Saturday and Sunday at Wallace Field.
A conference champion will be crowned Sunday afternoon, as the host Vikes are joined by the Alberta Pandas, UBC Thunderbirds, Calgary Dinos, Fraser Valley Cascades, Lethbridge Pronghorns, and Thompson Rivers WolfPack.
The Vikes enter their home tourney six points up on the Dinos for top spot in the conference standings, with the team who tops the table at the conclusion of the weekend being crowned the 2018 CW champion.
Victoria is coming off back-to-back tournament wins, as the Vikes earned first-place in both previous stops on the schedule (Alberta – Jan. 19-20 / Fraser Valley – Feb. 10-11) thanks to perfect 6-0-0 records.
“Every team in the conference is getting better each and every game, so to keep playing the way that got us here isn’t enough,” said fourth-year Vike Madeleine Graham.
“We have high expectations for ourselves and we can’t afford to become complacent. We know that if we want to continue to be successful, we can’t just keep doing the same things – we need to be better.”
Now, Victoria has the chance to join Calgary – who won last season – as the only Canada West rugby 7s champs in the sports young history at the university level.
They’ll have the chance to do it in front of a hometown crowd to boot.
“We are always excited to play in front of a home crowd. With so few home games throughout our 15s and 7s seasons, getting the opportunity to play in front of our family and friends is really special,” said Graham. “It is always an honour to put on a Vikes jersey, and getting to represent UVic at home is an especially significant privilege.”
In just its second season, the CW Women’s Rugby 7s Series has been a welcome addition to the university rugby schedule for student-athletes across the conference.
With seven teams now competing in CW rugby 7s thanks to the addition of Thompson Rivers, who will compete in their second consecutive event this weekend, the sport has already gained traction in the conference, which dominated at last year’s national championship.
“The Canada West 7s Series has been huge for 7s development in our league. We really saw the impact of the series at the 2017 University 7s Championships, where five of the top six teams were from the Canada West conference,” Graham pointed out. “Each series stop makes for higher quality rugby as each team gets more skilled and gains more experience. It is exciting to see the level of play improve every game, and we know that it’s going to continue to get better from here.”
The Series, which has been made possible thanks to the ongoing support of B2ten and Rugby Canada, opens Saturday morning with Fraser Valley taking on TRU (9:30 a.m. PST), with the final game of the tournament set to be a dandy when the Vikes take on the Dinos Sunday afternoon (2:50 p.m. PST).
Brittany Water, Vikes head coach
“Every tournament we are looking to improve upon our previous performances and we have set the bar high for ourselves. We want this tournament to be our most dominant by implementing everything we have worked on over the past few months.”
“The Canada West 7s Series has provided an opportunity for our athletes to consistently experience good quality 7s competition over the past two years. The development of the individual athletes is evident as is the increasing level of play across teams. It will be important for this league to continue to keep building 7s at the university level.”