On the first weekend of February, the Heat went to Abbotsford to participate in the 2019 Women’s Rugby 7s tournament for the first time in Canada West Conference, where unfortunately, the Heat did not win.
The Heat played six other teams, Including the powerhouses, UBC thunderbirds, Alberta Golden Bears, and Calgary Dinos on Saturday and Sunday. Despite the team’s loss to their rivals, Coach Hill states that he is satisfied with the results.
“Although the results might not dictate, our ladies proved that they belong at this elite level of competition. With some tweaks, we could start tightening up the competition in tournaments to come,” said Hill.
The Heat played against four teams on Saturday and two teams on Sunday. One of their best games proved to be their opening match where the team managed to keep the host team, UFV, down to a low score of 17 points.
“Having just come off the bus for the early game on Saturday, the girls looked a bit sluggish versus UFV, but keeping them at a low score was pretty good, considering they thumped us earlier in the year." added Coach Hill.
The Heat’s inclusion in the tournament is alone a success for the Athletes Department. According to Coach Hill, although the selection process narrowed down a number of players who played for the 15s roster, it increased the competitive nature of the players who were selected.
Emma Johnson was named the tournament MVP for the Heat. Johnson scored 5 tries over the weekend. The core group of veteran players, centre/scrum half Jordanne Sulz, Fly-half Abbey Nyberg, as well as wing Sharia Veneges provided the team with experience, leadership and all the things needed for a strong sevens side (strength, speed, ball skills).
“I think our goal as a team, for this year at least, is to prove that we belong at this Can West level. As the program builds, I would like to see us be a top 4 team in Can West vying for a spot at the Nationals year after year,” said Hill.