Claremont ruggers set to tackle B.C. Games

International youth sevens comes to Saanich this weekend

Claremont secondary students Payton Cochrane

Shaye Tudor’s been a diver, a weightlifter, a BMXer, but now, she’s a rugby player.

This summer Tudor will spend as much time playing and training in rugby to consider it a full-time job.

The 17-year-old Claremont secondary student already went to Las Vegas for an international youth rugby sevens tournament in February, which her B.C. Bears U18 team won. She also captained a national U18 team that travelled to England for a pair of matches in the spring. Tudor recently played at the U18 Provincial Rugby Championships with the South Island Tide.

Tudor, who’s going into Grade 12, was already well on her way as a dedicated rugby player two years ago when she recruited fellow Claremont student Payton Cochrane, who’ll celebrate her sweet 16th on Friday and is going into Grade 11.

Cochrane and Tudor are Saanich’s contribution to the Island’s Zone 6 girls team which will compete in the rugby sevens tournament at the upcoming B.C. Summer Games in Abbotsford, July 21-24.

This weekend they’ll both be on the field in Saanich for the Victoria Youth International Sevens in the U18 category. Tudor will dress for Team B.C. and Cochrane for the Zone 6 team.

“It’s a hectic amount of rugby and it’s definitely going to make summer go fast but it’s how I’d like to spend my summer,” Tudor said.

Back in 2014, Tudor messaged Cochrane to come out for the rugby team after she saw Cochrane at a youth rugby clinic held at the Pacific Institute for Sports Excellence.

“I remembered she was lightning fast when we needed players for the school team,” said Tudor, who usually lines up as a flanker at the back of the forward pack in 15s.

Cochrane, meanwhile, played fullback for Team B.C.’s U15 squad last summer, though she mostly focused the offseason on basketball camps, which she’ll continue to play in the winter ahead. For this summer is all about rugby for Cochrane, who is gravitating towards a focus on the contact sport.

“It’s one of those sports where you have to love everyone who’s playing,” Cochrane said. “I might not be a three-point shooter in basketball but maybe I can bring some of my rugby game to the court, and vice versa,” she said.

Cochrane didn’t know she’d be playing rugby one day when she was watching her dad, Al Cochrane, the former coach of the Mount Douglas Rams, run through countless tackling drills.

The five-time B.C. champion Rams (AA and AAA), of course, are not a bad team to watch, in particular for their work ethic.

“I came out to rugby and I had no idea what to do, so all those days I was a little kid sitting with the football equipment watching the Rams practice came back to me,” Cochrane said.


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