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Rugby team bounces back after slow start

The rookies on the EDSS girls’ rugby team got a rough introduction to the sport.

Their staff coach, Rob Harvey, popped his Achilles tendon and had to step down a week beforetheir first game.

At the same time, Heather Seiling, the student teacher who was coaching, left for a work term in Uganda.

Tracy Weber (left) tries to shake off a tackle as the EDSS girls took on Huron Heights Secondary in their second match of the season Wednesday. Weber had 18 points in the Lancers’ 38-10 victory over Huron Heights.
Tracy Weber (left) tries to shake off a tackle as the EDSS girls took on Huron Heights Secondary in their second match of the season Wednesday. Weber had 18 points in the Lancers’ 38-10 victory over Huron Heights.

The girls played their first game on Monday with two new coaches and without 10 of the senior players, who were on a class trip to New York. The day was miserably cold and wet, and they lost 28-0 to Bluevale Collegiate.

With a start like that, there was nowhere to go but up, and that’s precisely where the Lancers went on Wednesday, defeating Huron Heights 34-10. Tracy Weber scored two tries and kicked three converts, Sarah Van Allen added another pair of tries, and Steph Duench scored her first try, an impressive feat for a fullback.

“We did much better than we did on Monday,” said staff coach Terri Radley. “When we only have 36 kids and 10 of them are away, it’s tough.”

The rugby team doesn’t have a lot of seniors to spare; there are only six or seven Grade 11s and 12s on the team. Fully 15 of the girls are Grade 9s or 10s who’ve never played the sport before.

“A lot of them are still learning the terms because rugby speak is so different,” Radley said.

This will be a building year for the rugby program, but they aren’t bowing out of the season before it gets up to speed. EDSS is usually fairly competitive in girls’ rugby, and they’re hoping to make this another year they advance to WCSSAA.

Tamara Simmons, who plays on the Wilfrid Laurier University rugby team and stepped in to replace Seiling, said the team has speed on its side. Tackling is another strong point, but the girls still have to work on defence.

That said, they’re picking up the game quickly, and she enjoys helping them learn.

“I like to see girls trying the sport and falling in love with it like I did.”

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