Rugby Manitoba representatives ran a pair of drop-in clinics at the Thompson Regional Community Centre (TRCC) March 25−26, where they introduced female athletes aged 11 to 17 to the fundamentals of the sport.
Even though only one out of the 12 participants had actually played rugby before, instructor Hayleigh Bell said they all had a lot of fun and picked up the game very quickly.
“They’re all very athletic and it just kind of came naturally to them,” she said after the second session on Tuesday. “By the end of today we were doing tackling and line-outs, actually lifting someone up in the air.”
Now that these tryouts are behind them, Bell wants to use this momentum to roll-out Thompson’s very own seven-player rugby club that can compete in tournaments and hopefully even enter into the 2020 Manitoba Summer Games.
Dubbing themselves the Nor’Westers, Bell said the team will start running weekly practices at the TRCC April 7 and will move outside as soon as the weather permits it.
Bell even has her mind set on competing in a couple upcoming tournaments in Winnipeg and Dauphin at the end of May.
“I think it will be a fun, positive way to get the girls more excited about the sport,” she said. “They show a lot of athletic ability and I think it’ll be great to expose them to kids who have been playing a little bit longer.”
For now, Bell will serve as the head coach of the Nor’Westers’ Rugby Club, having played at the high school, club and provincial level throughout the past decade. She’s also moved into more of a mentor role in recent years.
Anyone interested in registering to play can do so by contacting Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration will set each athlete back $60, plus any additional travel costs that have yet to be determined.