Growing pains

Maddie Avery along with her BC U20 teammates at the Canadian Rugby Championships. Photo supplied.

Maddie Avery reflects on the Canadian Rugby Championships

As she readied herself for the Canadian Rugby Championships in Saskatoon, Sask.,  Maddie Avery of Little Heffley Lake, B.C. was looking to gain experience as a centre and prepare for preseason training with her team at McGill University.

“It was definitely an eye-opening experience for me. It’s the type of tournament that puts you off your high horse,” said Avery. “Everyone comes and brings their A-game so it definitely motivated me to try harder.”

Playing on the women’s U20 B.C. team, Avery said she found she had to adjust to the caliber of play at that level stating there was less room for error than when she played for the U18 program last season.

“At the U18 level everyone is an amazing player, but there’s just a lot more chances. It’s a little bit more innocent,” said Avery.

While Avery found her groove throughout the six-day tournament, Team B.C. struggled to connect as a team losing all four matches.

“Part of it, was we only had four practices and we never played all together as well. Obviously we had to change some things and fix some things,” she explained.

Comparing her team to the other provinces Avery found that B.C. had a strong group of forwards and were good at certain pieces of the game but had a few issues with execution.

“It’s a team sport. You really have to have good chemistry with everyone, so one of our biggest issues was just keeping our line integrity on defence. So they (the coaches) gave me some changes there just to hold back and not create spaces and we saw some improvements there,” said Avery.

Reflecting on the tournament, Avery called the experience a kick in the butt for her to get ready for her university season motivating her to work on her skills.

“I got a lot more comfortable with the different plays that we run and just the timing and the angles that I have to run in order to make ground and help out our team.  I’m really excited to try some of those things when I get to university,” she said.

 Avery will leave for preseason training at McGill later this summer.