UFV adds womens rugby program

The University of the Fraser Valley is one of six Canada West schools participating in a pilot project with Rugby Canada and B2Ten.

Chilliwack girls looking to play university rugby close to home now have a place to go.The University of the Fraser Valley has announced the formation of a women’s rugby sevens club program which will participate in a pilot project led by Canada West, B2Ten and Rugby Canada.The project will see the creation of a three-tournament rugby sevens series involving six Canada West institutions – the University of the Fraser Valley, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge, and University of Victoria.“UFV is excited to join five other Canada West schools competing in women’s rugby sevens,” said Steve Tuckwood, UFV director of athletics and campus recreation. “If the Rio Olympics were any indication, Canadian sports fans are getting on board with rugby sevens, and the Fraser Valley is a hotbed for women’s rugby.”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.The three-year pilot project is part of B2Ten’s ongoing mandate to help in the development of elite Canadian athletes and promotion of sport and active lifestyle in creating a healthy and dynamic society.Jen Ross will serve as head coach of the Cascades club. Ross is a former Canadian national team player who participated in the 1994 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Scotland, and has gone on to become a highly accomplished coach. She was Rugby Canada’s 2012 national female coach of the year, and has also earned awards from the B.C. Rugby Union, Sport BC, and the BC Games Society. Jen has coached at the high school (Robert Bateman Secondary), club (Abbotsford RFC), regional (Fraser Valley rep) and provincial (B.C. rep) levels, often all in the same year. She also serves as an assistant coach for the B.C. Elite girls sevens program (U-16 and U-18 age groups).Ross has already begun putting together the Cascades’ roster, and athletes interested in participating should contact her via email at jen__ross@shaw.ca.The Canada West Women’s Rugby Seven Series opens Jan. 21-22 at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. That will be followed by tournaments at the University of Victoria (Feb. 4-5) and University of British Columbia (Feb. 18-19).