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Entries by Jordan Astrope
After losing out on 2 seasons of summer rugby programs due to COVID-19, Saskatchewan’s junior rugby players have been busy catching up this summer. A number of junior programs and events brought our players back to the pitch, including training with local senior clubs.
These activities wouldn’t have been possible without the support of community coaches, managers, organisers, and players, and the Sask Rugby High Performance Committee who continue to drive rugby’s progress in the province. Your sport thanks you.
NORTH VS SOUTH
Organised by a group of women’s coaches, junior girls will be taking the pitch in Saskatoon on August 21 and Regina on August 28 for some North vs South 15s exhibition games. Each day will consist of 2 games with 20 minute halves, and team lunch in between. Good luck ladies!
U18 BOYS CANADA CAMP
Sask Rugby is hosting a U18 Boys Canada camp August 21-22 in Regina for invited athletes. Out of those selected a number of Saskatchewan athletes will have their shot at a tour with the national team in December 2021 to January 2022. Good luck boys!
CANADA SUMMER GAMES TEAM TRAINING
Initially planned for 2021, the Niagara Canada Summer Games were rescheduled for August of 2022 due to COVID-19. Team Sask started its training with coaches Kayla Mack-Thiel and Gillian Allen in June of 2021. Any U18 girls interested in participating can learn more here: www.saskrugby.com/canadagames
RUGBY ID COMBINE
Organised by the Sask Rugby High Performance Committee, Sask’s first ever Rugby ID Combine took place in July 2021, open to all athletes interested in developing in sport. The all-day session in Regina brought in over 30 athletes and tons of talent.
Regina Minor Rugby
Formerly Regina Mini Rugby, Regina Minor has expanded in recent years to include players ages 15 to 18. After getting cancelled in 2020, the program returned in full force August of 2021 and plans to run until October. One of the longest standing community rugby programs in Saskatchewan, RMR is an excellent option for juniors looking to get into the game or develop in a fun environment.
RMR still delivers Minis for its 4-14 ages and the kids love it.
MacDowell Prairie Academy
The Prairie Academy was one of the only training opportunities for juniors during 2020, running sessions whenever possible. The program restarted in May of 2021 and is slated to return for fall sessions in September. The academy focuses on developing high performance rugby athletes but is open to all ages and skill levels.
NSRU Minor Rugby
Formerly Saskatoon Mini Rugby, the NSRU came together to deliver minor and junior rugby sessions in Saskatoon at the beginning of June 2021. The junior side of the program brought a number of North juniors back to the field and helped in reconnecting them with senior clubs.
With the recent forest fires and the worsening air quality there is an elevated risk when playing sports. With this increased risk Sask Rugby is implementing a new policy for the health and safety of the members of the community. This policy uses the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) to help make the decision to […]
8 Saskatchewan athletes, Gabrielle Senft (Regina, SK), Elle Douglas (Saskatoon, SK), Molly Watson (Avonlea, SK), Laney Aikens (Briercrest, SK), Brett Kannenberg (Lumsden, SK), Madisyn Pluhowy (Regina, SK), Matt Klimchuk (Regina, SK) and Owen Watson (Avonlea, SK), were named Gilbert Champions in the 2020 Gilbert Champions program. These players received a Gilbert training kit and the opportunity to promote and mentor the growth of rugby in their communities with Gilbert Canada. Senft and Douglas will also be working with and mentored by the incredible team of 2020 ELITE GILBERT CHAMPIONS: Kayla Moleschi, Josiah Morra, Britt Benn and Jake Thiel – ALL members of the Rugby Canada team, and passionate advocates for how rugby has provided incredible life experiences both on and off the pitch.
Gabrielle Senft started as a high school player in Saskatchewan and quickly gained a reputation in the sport for her athleticism, talent, and tenacity. Senft has now played both 15s and 7s across Canada in British Columbia and across the world in Australia and England, all while being a force to be reckoned with on the Canadian National Team. In her Gilbert Canada profile, Senft reflects on the value of community in rugby: “Most importantly the community that rugby holds is something that has really drawn me to continue playing rugby all over the world”.
Elle Douglas started as a mini player in the Saskatoon Mini Rugby program and has since played for the Saskatoon Sirens, North Sask Wolverines, and Team Saskatchewan. You might recognize her from Sask Rugby’s 2016 #ChampionHer video. In her Gilbert Canada profile, Douglas recalls this experience as an inspiration for her rugby dreams: “A big role model for me would be Kayla Mack. I first met her when I was 11 years old and I was doing an interview for women’s rugby. I remember being super excited to meet somebody who had played for Canada and was from Saskatchewan. She gave me a signed Canada warmup jersey from her playing days. I was so starstruck! Kayla really inspired me to pursue my dreams!”.
Molly Watson started as a mini rugby player with Regina Minor Rugby, and has been apart of the Macdowell Rugby Academy and has continued with these programs. In her Gilbert Canada profile Watson expresses her interest in the sport: “I like all the different skills you can do and learn! I like that it can be challenging and I can be competitive when I play”.
Laney Aikens is currently playing rugby for the national senior women’s 7s team and has helped coach at the Macdowell Rugby Academy in Saskatchewan. In her Gilbert Canada profile Aikens explains why she loves rugby: “I love the aggression that comes along with rugby. Ever since I was a small child I have always had so much grit and now that there is a sport where I can use my aggressiveness as an asset, it makes for more success”.
Brett Kannenberg is the head coach at Macdowell Rugby Academy in Saskatchewan. His Gilbert Canada profile explains that he enjoys the sport of rugby because “[e]veryone has a place… [t]he inclusiveness of the sport makes it possible to be invilved at all age levels, abilities, desired competition, not to mention it is global”.
Madisyn Pluhowy started playing on the provincial team in 2019 and is currently playing senior rugby with the Lady Condors in Regina. In her Gilbert Canada profile Madisyn expresses her love for the sport and the community: “I love the community that surrounds rugby as a whole. After losing a great deal of weight one of my friends mentioned rugby and I’ve never looked back. Rugby has revealed true friends that have supported me in the continuation of my weight loss journey and overall in life. I’m forever thankful for being included and excepted in such a tight nit community that rugby brought to me”.
Matt Klimchuk started playing rugby in high school and has since played senior rugby and in the U.S.. In his Gilbert Canada profile Klimchuk shows his admiration for the sport: “I love not only the immense culture behind the sport, but also the dynamics of the game. To me, a rugby player is not only a prime example of a incredible athlete, but also a person of strong character and work ethic. To me rugby Is the ultimate sport”.
Owen Watson has played both high school and provincial rugby, with a bright future ahead of him. In his Gilbert Canada profile Watson shared why he loves rugby: “I love the fact that Rugby has provided me with opportunities to travel to Florida to play in the Tropical 7s last April and play in the LA 7s tournament this past March. I love how much fun I have playing and learning new skills and meeting new people. I love the fact that I am not a very big kid but there is a position for me to play in a sport that I love!”.
Check out and share their full Ambassador program features on Gilbert Canada’s Instagram and Facebook pages. Sask Rugby is so proud of these athletes and all their contributions to the sport of rugby in their communities.
Even though the 2021 season had a late start the enthusiasm for the game has only grown. The season opener saw a return to rugby for the Regina Rugby Union, while the North Saskatchewan Rugby Union was forced to delay their season due to poor weather conditions. This year the excitement of the games and the enthusiasm for the sport expanded further than the players on the pitch. The RRU saw the community come together as they welcomed rugby back to Saskatchewan. With many of the players staying behind after the games to welcome back and thank their opposition, while spectators congratulated the teams for their triumphant return.
Opening the season on Thursday, July 15, was an exciting 15’s game presented by Rage and the Lady Condors as both teams provided an excellent show of the game’s intensity. Rage managed to claim the season’s first win, with a final score of 63-14. Friday night brought the same intensity as the Highlanders faced off against the Grads as the Rogues faced the Condors. The excitement of the new season only grew as the games came to a close as the Highlanders won over the Grads with a score of 34-19, while the Rogues secured their victory over the Condors with a final score of 45-8. The first week of games ending with excitement and anticipation for the weeks to come.
Rookie Rugby is Rugby Canada’s mass participation program to introduce the game to boys and girls of all ages. Saskatchewan Rugby has been running the program since 2016 with massive success. With the support of Rugby Canada and its sponsors Sask Rugby has developed annual Rookie Rugby Jamborees in Regina and Saskatoon as well as partnerships with the school divisions.
After the 2020 season cancelation and the uncertainty that began the 2021 season, rugby is finally back in Saskatchewan, including the Rookie Rugby Program! The reopening of rugby and the Rookie Rugby Program means there are both new and old faces joining the Rookie Rugby Team in Saskatchewan. The new team now includes: Geovonie Sparvier, Elle Douglas, Katelyn Kleisinger, and Madisyn Pluhowy. The late season start has motivated the Sask Rugby’s new Rookie Rugby Leaders into helping regrow the program after it’s year hiatus.
Now that the summer is in full swing the Rookie Rugby Leaders are working hard to provide fun rugby activities to Saskatchewan youths. Working with different summer camps and school programs our Leaders have kicked off the season with a busy week of Rookie Rugby programs. Out in Saskatoon, Elle has shared and will continue to share her love for rugby with the Summer Play Program all around the city. Elle will continue to join the Summer Play Program every Monday to Thursday at 10:30-11:30a.m. and 2:30-3:30p.m., and Friday at 2:30-3:30. The Leaders out in Regina began their season showing off their stellar teamwork as they joined the PlayEscapes program, which they will be joining again July 27 and 28. With a growing schedule our Rookie Rugby Leaders are going to be visiting many different camps and school programs. With days planned for Katelyn and Madisyn to join some of the Girls in the Game Camp Days in Regina as well as future events with schools and smaller organizations being planned. To learn more about the program or to book a session check out the Rookie Rugby page on our website at https://www.saskrugby.com/rookierugby/ .
gorgeous, beautiful, wow
Crouch Bind Set!
Last Tuesday the provincial government announced it is lifting many restrictions on outdoor team sport starting on May 30 allowing it to return in Phase 1 of the Re-Opening Road Map. The current restrictions on indoor sport and outdoor individual sport will remain in place until June 20 when the province reaches Step 2 in the Re-Opening Saskatchewan plan.
Please note that although restrictions have been lessened, It is important that we all continue to follow our guidelines and procedures in place to mitigate the risk and provide a safe environment for all participants. Member organizations needs to use its best judgement and can also go above and beyond what is required in the government guidelines.
It is our sport’s time to show the rest of Saskatchewan that Rugby is safe, we have an excellent Return to Play plan and our members are the experts in our sport and can effectively manage the safe return of rugby in our communities while keeping everyone participating safe.
All 3 parts of our Return to Rugby Plan remains in place: Preparing to Return (including sanctioning process), Managing Return and Ensuring Safe Return.
Sask Rugby in line with Rugby Canada and World Rugby requires a 6 week progression of contact training be made available by each member club prior to participation in any full contact rugby competition. This is to allow all clubs time to follow the guidelines laid out by the World Rugby document linked below.
Beginning May 30, 2021 competition and game play for outdoor team sport can proceed with the following requirements:
- Participants may not compete if they are feeling unwell.
- Players and Coaches will be screened for Covid 19 Symptoms prior to arriving at practise and games, using the online Sportlomo system.
- League play is allowed to resume; however, tournaments are not permitted at this time.
- No interprovincial travel, teams competing in regional interprovincial leagues need to contact the Business Response Team prior to beginning play.
- Capacity must be in compliance with the public health orders for public outdoor gatherings for each playing surface or game area. Public outdoor gatherings are set to expand to a limit of 150 people on May 30th as part of the Re-Opening Roadmap.
- Water bottles should not be shared, when balls and pads are shared, cleaning and disinfecting must occur between use
- Commonly touched equipment used for game play (eg Match Balls) is routinely replaced or disinfected during the course of practise or play
- Coaches, officials, and players who are not on the field are not required to wear masks outdoors under the public health order. However masks may be worn if they are more comfortable with that layer of protection.
- No shaking hands, high-fives, etc
- Spectators not from the same household should maintain two meters physical distancing.
- Spectators must remain in the designated areas. Masks are not required to be worn outdoors under the public health order but they may be worn if spectators are more comfortable with layer of protection.
- Hand Sanitizers approved by Health Canada (DIN or NPN) or soap and water handwashing stations should be available for participants and spectators.
- Public washrooms, when available, are cleaned and disinfected regularly, and soap and water or hand sanitizer is available.
- Daily Attestations and Attendance tracking for coaches, officials and players should be maintained within SportLomo to assist with contact tracing for 30 days in case of a confirmed case of COVID-19.
There are some great resources available to help clubs manage both the physical and mental aspect of returning to contact rugby. World Rugby Resource and Coach Association of Canada through The Locker Leading Return to Sport ELearning HERE.
For more information on Saskatchewan Rugby’s Return to Play visit https://www.saskrugby.com/rtpadmin/ and if you have any questions please contact our Covid Manager Sena Debia, email@example.com.
I wish all of you a safe and enjoyable return to rugby in Saskatchewan!
Sask Rugby’s 2021 Annual General Meeting date is set for Tuesday, Mar 30, 7:00PM via Zoom. Call for nominations to the board and other meeting agenda items can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
At this meeting the membership will ratify boards and committees with a vote, approve any changes to policy or documents, and discuss any relevant issues brought forward. Sask Rugby encourages representatives from all clubs and community programs to send a representative. Meeting minutes, including any documents discussed, will be available on our website.
Follow the link below to register and receive the meeting agenda.
You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Mar 30, 2021 07:00 PM Saskatchewan
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Sask Rugby is proud to partner with our other provincial unions to provide the Coast to Coast Connecting the Country: Rugby Conference running virtually March 27th to 29th, 2021. The Coast to Coast Coaching Conference will target the existing rugby coach community in Canada, including those coaching at clubs, schools, universities, and high performance environments. The full speaker list and poster and available below.
The conference will take participants through a ‘week in rugby’, where they will interact with experienced community and professional coaches, academics, and those with lived experience in sport. It will serve as an opportunity for participants to listen to and interact with local and international experts at the heart of developing sport. Conference registration is $35, with each registration fee including a $5 donation to the Monty Heald Women’s National Fund.
Anyone who registered as a rugby coach in Saskatchewan in 2019 or 2020 is eligible to have their registration fees covered by Sask Rugby. Contact email@example.com for details on this program.
Saskatchewan Rugby is the governing body for the sport of Rugby in Saskatchewan. Our mission is to promote, develop and administer, the playing of Rugby throughout Saskatchewan.