The UVic Vikes will be part of the inaugural Canada West conference rugby 7s season in January.
It’s an announcement that comes just three days after a successful national rugby 15s championship played at the University of Victoria, and won by the St. FX X-Women.
Canada West Women’s Rugby Sevens Series is a three-year pilot project that will provide Canadian female student-athletes the opportunity to pursue the game of rugby sevens, while studying in Canada.
The initiative is a joint partnership between the Canada West university sports conference, Rugby Canada and B2Ten, a national sport funding organization.
It will run as a three-tournament rugby sevens series involving six Canada West schools – the University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, University of the Fraser Valley, University of Lethbridge, and University of Victoria.
Coming off Canada’s women’s rugby sevens bronze at the Rio Olympics, B2Ten and Rugby Canada are committed to producing the next generation of Olympians by growing the game at Western Canadian universities that share their collective goal of developing high performance rugby programs here in Canada.
“This initiative builds a pathway to the sevens national team while offering student-athletes the opportunity to pursue their university studies in Canada,” said B2ten’s Dominick Gauthier. “We are pleased to join Rugby Canada, the participating universities
and Canada West in support of women’s rugby sevens, a sport we believe Canada is well suited to challenge for gold in at the Olympic Games.”
Through their joint support, which will include scholarship opportunities for players at all six competing institutions, B2Ten and Rugby Canada are committed to helping Canadian female athletes pursue their athletic careers, including an opportunity to progress to the national team.
“The launch of the Canada West Women’s Rugby Sevens Series is a fantastic initiative that will see tremendous growth of female sevens players,” said Rugby Canada CEO Allen Vansen. “The competition will provide a new pathway to our national sevens programs and will act as a great development tool for players.”
The pilot project aligns with Canada West’s ongoing efforts to develop new athletic opportunities for our student-athletes, as they pursue academic and athletic excellence at some of Canada’s finest post-secondary institutions.
“Canada West appreciates the partnership with Rugby Canada and B2ten. Together we are committed to growing women’s rugby sevens in a way that aligns university sport with the development of our national team program and helps motivate our top student-athletes to stay in Canada, while pursuing their post-secondary and international goals,” said Victoria Athletic Director and Canada West Vice President of Planning and Research Clint Hamilton.
The Canada West Women’s Rugby Seven Series opens January 21 and 22 in Edmonton, Alta. as the University of Alberta hosts the inaugural event, before further tournaments at the University of Victoria (February 4 and 5) and University of British Columbia (February 18 and 19).
The winner of the series will be crowned following the final tournament of the series, as determined by cumulative series points.