The UVic Vikes women’s rugby team is back in action this coming weekend, looking to begin the Canada West 7s Series with a bang at the first tournament of the series, being hosted in Edmonton, AB on Jan. 20 and 21.
Edmonton is the first of three tournaments scheduled in the series, further tournaments will take place in Abbotsford, B.C. on Feb. 10 and 11 before a champion is crowned at the final tournament, hosted on Wallace Field here at UVic on Feb. 24 and 25. Teams are awarded points at the completion of each tournament depending on where they finished in the standings and the series champion is awarded based on cumulative series points.
Joining the Vikes in Edmonton are the host Alberta Pandas, reigning champion Calgary Dinos, the UBC T-Birds, Fraser Valley Cascades and the Lethbridge Pronghorns. Thompson Rivers is the only addition to the series in the second year of competition but the newest member will only compete at the Abbotsford and Victoria tournaments.
The Vikes roster is full of returning players who have vast experience not only in the Canada West, but also as members of last year’s University National 7s Championship winning team.
“We have nine returning players from last season’s championship team which is great for continuity and keeping the bar set high,” said Vikes head coach Brittany Waters. “We have good mix of experience and new talent on the team this season and we will be building off our success from 2017.”
Added to the squad this season are Emily Belchos, who was a standout during the Vikes fall 15s season, as well as newcomer Paige Farries. Both Belchos and Farries boast a wealth of national team experience in both 15s and 7s.
Last Time Out
The Vikes were one of the top teams in the inaugural series last year, earning Canada West silver with a record of 10-2.
They steamrolled their way through the Edmonton tournament last season, going a perfect 6-0. A 12-5 victory over the Calgary Dinos in the first-place game solidified the Vikes as championship contenders.
“Last year’s 6-0 sweep in Edmonton was a great start to the season and we are looking to repeat that record,” said Waters. “With the series format that’s in place, every game and every tournament is important to win, and getting off on the right foot in Edmonton will help us to reach our goals.”
After the second tournament in UBC was cancelled due to inclement weather, the series all came down to the final tournament in Victoria.
The Vikes started strong with a victory over Lethbridge but were then bested by Alberta and Calgary to end Day 1. The Vikes were able to rebound and go a perfect 3-0 on Day 2 but that was only good enough to earn third-place in the tournament. With Calgary picking up a second-place finish in Edmonton and winning the Victoria tournament, they took home the overall crown over the Vikes by the slimmest of margins.
This season marks the second of a three-year partnership between B2ten, Rugby Canada, and Canada West to bring rugby 7s competition to campuses across the conference. B2ten and Rugby Canada’s partnership with Canada West is part of their ongoing commitment to producing the next generation of Olympians by growing the game at Western Canadian universities that share their collective goal of developing high-performance rugby programs here in Canada.
Jan. 20 – 9:00 a.m. – vs Fraser Valley – Edmonton, AB – Watch live
Jan. 20 – 11:30 a.m. – vs Lethbridge – Edmonton, AB – Watch live
Jan. 20 – 3:20 p.m. – vs Calgary – Edmonton, AB – Watch live
Jan. 21 – 9:00 a.m. – vs UBC – Edmonton, AB – Watch live
Jan. 21 – 12:20 p.m. – vs Alberta – Edmonton, AB – Watch live
Jan. 21 – 2:20 p.m. – 5th-place game – Edmonton, AB – Watch live
Jan. 21 – 2:55 p.m. – 3rd-place game – Edmonton, AB – Watch live
Jan. 21 – 3:20 p.m. – 1st-place game – Edmonton, AB – Watch live