By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
Head coach Chris McKee has a positive outlook heading into the inaugural season of women’s rugby at Durham College.
He said while he does not believe they will be the best team in the league, they will be competitive.
“I expect us to be middle of the pack,” he says.
The first season will kick off with the Lords hosting the East Tournament at Thompson Rugby Park on Sept. 29.
McKee has spent many years in the world of rugby, and is very familiar with the landscape of the game. He has coached the varsity girl’s team at Uxbridge Secondary School for several years, leading them to the LOSSA championships twice, eventually winning the bronze medal at OFSAA in 2014.
While this may be their first full season, the Lords did play a few exhibition games in 2017 in which they went 2-2, blowing out the Seneca Sting’s second team 50-5. A few of those who participated in the exhibition games last season could possibly return, however all final roster spots will be decided during tryouts on Sept. 5.
The team will be playing seven’s rugby, which means that instead of the usual 80 minutes of play, there is only 14. This will consist of two seven-minute halves as well as a two-minute half time. There are also only seven players on the field for each team as opposed to the regular 15, which creates a faster pace to the game.
According to McKee, some returning players to keep an eye on are Lauren Halso and Brie Hogarth, who McKee considers to be two of the team’s most prominent leaders. He is also high on Taylor Lantaigne, who was one of their leading scorers during the exhibition games last year.
Rugby is a sport that is growing in popularity in North America, and with the introduction of the women’s rugby team at Durham College. McKee encourages the community to come show their support.
“If you want to come out and watch a fast-paced and exciting sport then rugby is the sport for you,” he says.
McKee remains cautiously optimistic and is excited for the upcoming season and the challenge the team has in store.