The University of Regina has a new club on campus.
With the addition of a men’s rugby club last year, the women’s club isn’t far behind.
Tatenda Chikukwa, a second year pre-journalism student at the U of R, is one of the members of the women’s rugby team who is hoping to make the club’s rookie season a success.
“The boys’ team started up last year, so one of our coaches, Julie Foster, talked to the men’s coach and he decided that they should come up with a female team,” Chikukwa explained. “[The Boys] paved the way. They did their own fundraising and their own trip, and they basically proved that a rugby team is stable at the U of R, so that gave them the confidence to start the girls’ team.”
Like the men’s team, as of right now, because they are a club, the women will not receive funding from the University. However, they are already busy planning for a competitive tour in British Columbia in March, something that the men’s team will also take part in.
While the women’s rugby team waited a full year after the men’s team to begin practicing, Chikukwa says that she is grateful to have the men’s team lead the way for campus rugby.
“[The Boys] paved the way, they did their own fundraising and their own trip, and they basically proved that a rugby team is stable at the U of R so that gave them the confidence to start the girls’ team.” – Tatenda Chikukwa
“Unfortunately, it’s always like that. You have to have a male team first before you have a female team, but [the men’s team] were really nice and they helped us and paved the way,” she said.
The women’s team – whose roster currently boasts 13 team members – is always looking for girls who are interested in the sport, even if they have never played the game before.
However, recruiting new members for the team has proven to be quite difficult when there are often misconceptions about the amount of heavy contact involved with the sport.
“First I would like to say that rugby is not a dangerous sport. Everyone thinks that it is, but there is always a method on how to do things and how to properly tackle and run,” Chikukwa said. “I would also like to say that it’s a sport where if you don’t think you’re athletic, or you don’t think that you are physically fit, there is a position for you. If you are tiny and petite and you think that you can’t play, you can play; there is a position for that. It’s an all-encompassing sport.”
The women’s team – who is still in the beginning phases of becoming a club – has only held two practices so far this season, which leaves plenty of time for new members to join.
For Chikukwa, since starting her playing career in high school, she believes that she has grown both physically and mentally after deciding to join rugby, stressing that her self-confidence has greatly improved, something that she would like others to experience as well.
“It’s such a cliché to say that because I’m not really a sporty person – I have asthma – but joining the team, I always feel like I have been put in a position where I am key for that place, so there is no one else that can do that as good as me,” she said. “So, it has made me feel confident and every time you are in practice, you always feel like you learn something new.”
To become involved with the women’s rugby club, or for more information, contact the Coordinator of Recreation Services at John.Papandreos@uregina.ca.
Photo courtesy rfc.wayne.edu