With all the newfound awareness some of Laurier Brantford’s teams have received, very little acknowledgment has been given to women’s rugby from neither the student body nor the school. With a women’s varsity rugby team on Laurier’s main campus in Waterloo, Laurier Brantford is not eligible for their own team, according to rugby co-captain, Yasmine Boyd. The team has pursued other options, with little luck.
“We inquired about playing at college level, but the school doesn’t believe we are at the level to be successful and sustainable,” said Boyd.
It’s sad, but true. As with many of Laurier Brantford’s sports teams, few practice facilities are available. In fact, the women couldn’t practice – or play – at all last year as there simply weren’t any indoor facilities, Boyd said. So, they’ve got a long way to go.
The OCAA (Ontario Colleges Athletics Association) would be a huge leap for the team. The women’s rugby teams in the OCAA are some of the best in college sports, with two undefeated teams playing in the gold medal game in the final tournament of the season. But the teams at Laurier Brantford, who are now having success, medalling in OCAA tournaments, faced the same challenges.
The rugby team has now turned to the city of Brantford to jumpstart the club. Getting involved locally is the next best thing and would offer the team some competition and resources. Although the team was denied a trip to Las Vegas to participate in a tournament this year, they will be teaming up with a local team to head to Sin City in 2014. Vegas is about more than gambling after all.
This just goes to show how large the scope of rugby has grown. The Las Vegas Invitational rugby tournament is billed as the largest amateur rugby tournament in North America, featuring some of the best amateur squads. If the Laurier Brantford women can make a breakthrough in such a huge tournament, why not on the university stage.
The popularity of women’s rugby in Canada is at an all-time high. The national team is ranked second in the world, and rugby will be offered in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. It would be an incredible opportunity for the school to have a competitive women’s rugby team either in the OCAA or on a varsity level in the OUA alongside their main campus counterpart. The school will be getting a varsity soccer team in 2014 and a varsity basketball team in 2015, a rugby team on the pitch could work, too.