With 10 brand-new team members and eight returning players, the Ladysmith Secondary School AA girls rugby team is a relatively green squad with a heart of gold.
“There’s a lot of growth and development happening,” said coach Arlene McGuff. “It will be a lot of hard work to get us up to the physical level that the other teams seem to be at.
“We’re really strong in our backs right now, and we have some key returning players with some great potential coming in.”
The typical rugby game sees 15 players on the field at one time. With a roster of 18, a shallower pool of players could make for an interesting season.
“If we get any injuries, we’re short-handed, but that’s the way it goes in rugby,” McGuff said. “We go in with good hearts and try our best.”
During the regular season, the girls will play approximately eight games until the season ends May 15. So far, they have won one game out of the five played. Their last game, played April 4 against the Alberni Armada AAA girls rugby team resulted in a 35-5 loss for Ladysmith.
If the team is able to make it to the provincials, they will play May 24-26 at the Capilano Rugby Club.
A highly physical sport, rugby gives Ladysmith students so much more than the benefits of playing with a team.
“It’s really helping them in terms of healthy lifestyles, and it’s really neat to see them coming out of their shells as women and being aware of their bodies and the potential their bodies have,” said McGuff.
McGuff said the experience of playing on the rugby team also allows the girls to form friendships they may not normally forge in the classroom.
“It’s bringing them together. It’s nice to see them, especially when we travel, take care of each other and come together as a family.”