Getting Back in the Game: Rugby Canada to relaunch Women’s Age Grade Rugby

Rugby 15s U20 Women, Rugby 15s U18 Women

Rugby Canada is delighted to announce the relaunch of Women’s Age Grade national programming and competition. Activity at the U20 and U23 levels is set to return in 2023, while U18 programming will restart in late 2022.

Rugby Canada is delighted to announce the relaunch of Women’s Age Grade national programming and competition. Activity at the U20 and U23 levels is set to return in 2023, while U18 programming will restart in late 2022.

In keeping with feedback from the Provincial Unions, and having been paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the initial focus of the relaunch in 2022 is to ensure coaching staff and team managers are in place in order to set the program up for success when play gets underway next year. As such, vacancies are now open for these volunteer positions.

The goal of the U18, U20 and U23 programs is to develop athletes and coaches through a national pathway in a coordinated effort by the Sevens and 15s programs by working closely with communities, clubs, schools, universities and provincial unions.

The current alignment of Rugby Canada’s three flagship programs for Women’s rugby - Senior Sevens, 15s and the Maple Leaf Academy - is creating a platform for identifying and developing rugby players and coaches.

The recent NextGen Sevens tournament, held in Langford, BC in conjunction with the HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens and attended by the Head Coaches of all three programs, provided important opportunities for bolstering the overall depth chart and re-engaging with age grade athletes. This level of competition is one Rugby Canada hopes to continue in some form in the coming years.

Meanwhile, significant progress in the last six months in re-engaging with partners focused on the development and performance of the next generation of Sevens athletes, and in parallel with the majority of the country returning to club and provincial rugby, means now is the ideal time to relaunch Women’s Age Grade 15s programming.

Over the coming months, Women’s Rugby will be front and centre in Canada. As the Senior Women’s 15s continue to build towards this fall’s Rugby World Cup with the Pacific Four Series and two summer tests on home soil, coupled with the Senior Women’s Sevens team’s participation in the Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens - this is the summer of Women’s Rugby.

“There is no better time to get our Age Grade programs back in the game,” commented Kristy Martin Hale, Coordinator Women’s High Performance, Rugby Canada. “We are very cognizant that we have not had Age Grade Women’s activity since the pandemic began. Along with most club and provincial programs being dormant and leadership transitions internally, Rugby Canada needed the appropriate timing and staff resources to relaunch these important pathway programs.”

“Continuing to partner with USports following the successful NextGen opportunities in March and April, we are excited to continue strengthening that partnership in U23 and U20 athlete development. Rebuilding with provincial and club rugby is taking priority this summer. As we look forward to putting key staff in place to continue advocating for all of these important national activities, we are happy to see U18 and U20 programming move forwards.”

The application process is now open for U20 and U18 Head Coaches, Assistant Coaches and Team Managers. These openings have a closing date of June 30th to allow for hiring before a busy summer for clubs and Provinces, including the revival of Canada Summer Games, which will include Rugby Sevens for the first time.

Please click on the links below to view the job postings, which include information on how to apply:

Women’s Age Grade Coaches
Women’s Age Grade Team Managers

The positions will have a commitment of two years to allow for domestic talent ID over the next six months and preparation for the resuming of performance opportunities and competitions in 2023 and beyond.

“We are looking forward to seeing many clubs and provinces back at full speed for the first time in many years” said Canada’s Senior Women’s Sevens Head Coach, Jack Hanratty. “The Canada Games Sevens competition is one that we are so happy to see finally take off and there is huge excitement at the prospect of having a National stage for interprovincial activity once again.”

Canada’s Senior Women’s 15s Head Coach, Kevin Rouet, added: “Using our national underage programs for identification and development in both Sevens and 15s will allow us to re-engage across the country with athletes and coaches.”