EDMONTON – Canada West's commitment to growing the game of rugby 7s was reaffirmed Monday, as the conference announced an extension of their partnership with B2ten and Rugby Canada.
The trio initially came together three years ago on project whose objective was to grow the game in Canada through its eventual adoption by U SPORTS as a sanctioned sport. The project has seen rugby 7s played at the Canada West level the last three seasons thanks to the partners collective desire to enhance the opportunities available to female student-athletes.
Following the success of rugby 7s at the Canada West level, the conference and its partners are keen to see the sport adopted nationally by U SPORTS as a sanctioned sport.
"Thanks to the vision and commitment of B2ten, Rugby Canada, and our CW members we have seen the quality of women's rugby 7s grow," said CW President Clint Hamilton. "The pilot project is important to creating a nationwide athlete pool while retaining top Canadian student-athletes at Canadian universities and the connection between Canada West rugby 7s and the national team's ongoing success is a great illustration of what can be accomplished when a national sport organization and universities work together to advance sport in Canada."
Since its initiation during the 2016-17 season, the project has proven effective in helping develop the next generation of rugby 7s players, as Canada looks to continue its strong presence on the international stage.
"University play is fundamental to our national team’s player development", said John Tait, Director of Women's Rugby Performance and Head Coach, Canada's Rugby 7s Women's National Team. "Many of the next generation of national team athletes are presently developing at Canada's universities. Our Rugby Canada Sevens Academies have been growing talented young athletes that will need this quality of competition to develop their game sense all of which makes the U SPORTS pathway critical to a strong future”.
The pilot has already grown the game substantially in Western Canada, as evidenced by the fact that two more Canada West schools will compete in rugby 7s full-time beginning this season.
Trinity Western University and UBC Okanagan will join the original six teams of Alberta, Calgary, UBC, Victoria, Lethbridge, and Fraser Valley, as the eight-team circuit will once again feature three tournaments.
"Rugby 7s is a truly exciting sport and one that Canadian women are particularly well suited to", said B2ten's JD Miller. "We are pleased to extend the partnership with Rugby Canada and Canada West for a 4th year in order to get 7s across the line as a sanctioned university sport across Canada".
The 2020 Canada West Rugby 7s Series opens January 18 and 19 in Edmonton (hosted by Alberta), makes it way to Vancouver (hosted by UBC) and finally to Vancouver Island in March (hosted by Victoria). The 2020 CW champion will be crowned based on cumulative series points.
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