By Sam Cortes, Communications Coordinator
Next year will be the inaugural Rugby Sevens competition for the 2022 Canada Summer Games, and Team Toba’s women’s team will be competing for a spot on the podium.
Find out what makes Rugby Sevens unique and how female athletes in the U18 category can get involved over the upcoming year!
Speedier, Modified Version of the Game
“Rugby is an international game that has been played in Manitoba since 1879,” said Patrick Ryan, Executive Director of Rugby Manitoba.
He said Rugby Sevens is a speedier, skillful, yet powerful version of the game.
“It’s modified obviously as the name suggests, it has seven players on the field, seven-minute halves. But the game is still played on a full size rugby field, which is the same size of a football field or a soccer field.”
It’s also a very fitness-intensive sport, and you need to be able to run quite a long way.
“It’s sort of like the profile of a 400-metre runner, but they also need to be conditioned to be able to take hits and dish out hits, so it’s a very interesting balance. It requires a great level of natural fitness,” said Patrick.
Inaugural Rugby Sevens Competition at Canada Games
Patrick said the 15s version was a Canada Games sport until around 2005. And with Rugby Sevens being added to the Rio Olympics in 2016, where the Canadian women captured a bronze medal, it was added to Niagara.
“I think that’s largely in line with the Olympic pathway that Own the Podium and Rugby Canada are promoting. Just trying to find the next generation of Olympians,” said Patrick.
Team Toba Recruitment & Training
While the year ahead remains unpredictable because of the pandemic, the planning for developing the Team Toba women’s team continues.
“For the athletes that do get involved, there will be a selection tour around the province coming up over the summer when we’re finally allowed to go outside, and we’ll be recruiting girls in that U18 category,” he said.
What will the training look like?
“It’s going to be quite a lot of gym and fitness work. Got to get their nutrition right, the sport science right whilst we await the ability to have some good competitions elsewhere,” said Patrick.
As far as competition goes if restrictions ease in the future, they’ll plan to go to Edmonton next February for Western Championships, Florida in the spring, and likely one more yet-to-be-named tournament before heading to Niagara.
Advice for Future Team Toba Rugby Sevens Athletes
For those who are interested in Rugby Sevens, Patrick said confidence in yourself is key.
“My biggest advice for anyone that’s thinking about trying rugby is to not be afraid of the game. You’re definitely stronger and more resilient than you think you are. And the other one would be to get fit, give it a go, it’s a lot of fun. It’s a speedy, skillful and social game. Rugby Sevens particularly.”
Learn More & Get in the Game
Plus, Patrick suggests drawing inspiration from the best.
“The fun part of the game is definitely watching more and more rugby that you can. So go on YouTube and check out the Canadian Olympic team and check out the Rio bronze medal match and see what some of the girls are capable of. Also recommend checking out Canada Sevens, which is an international sevens event that Canada hosts every year that brings some of the best rugby players all over to Vancouver to compete. It’s such a great, fun event.”