Esquimalt High School rugby players Sarina Brooks, left, and Delaney Woods will be coming with the Celtic Barbarians under-15 girls sevens squad at the Paris World Games in July. (Kevin Menz/News Staff)

Esquimalt High rugby stars to compete at Paris World Games

Two among just three Vancouver Island athletes selected to Celtic Barbarians squad

Love of the game keeps Sarina Brooks and Delaney Woods on the pitch.

The Esquimalt High School rugby stars are no strangers to injury, but neither can imagine life without the sport.

“There are times when you are like, ‘Why do I do this?’” said the 16-year-old Woods, who’s dealt with concussions and whose twin sister has broken both legs playing the sport.

“Your body gets hurt, you get tired of it, you have to put in so much time. It’s crazy, but then you’re on the field after you make a big hit or you score a try and you just kind of look around, you see your teammates all smiling, you’re like, ‘Ya, that’s why I do it.’”

“I don’t want to get injured, obviously, but I love the sport so much,” added Brooks, 15, who was sidelined for six months after suffering a torn meniscus in her knee last year.

The Grade 10 pair, who won junior provincials with their high school team this year, will be taking their skills to Europe next month to compete with the Celtic Barbarians under-15 girls sevens squad at the Paris World Games. The Barbarians are a highly regarded program that draws players from all over Canada and the U.S. Brooks and Woods, along with Cowichan’s Jaxon Baker, are the only three players from Vancouver Island selected to the under-15 team.

READ ALSO: Cowichan’s Jaxon Baker joins Celtic Barbarians

“It’s going to be huge,” said Woods, who is one of the team’s two players permitted to be over the age of 15.

Woods, who also plays soccer, basketball and volleyball, chose to cut back her rugby commitments this season because of past concussions. She’s not playing with the regional Tide junior rugby program this year.

“I’m really unlucky with concussions,” she said. “That’s why I’m not able to play Tide this year.”

Next month’s trip to Paris will be her third trip with the Barbarians team — she’s played with the squad in Vegas and Orlando — but Brooks’ first.

Brooks, who also plays basketball and soccer, is excited to make the trip with a friend.

“It’s amazing — especially to do it with Delaney,” she said.

The Paris games are set to start July 6 and run until July 13.

—- with files from Kevin Rothbauer/News Staff

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