Heading to Saskatoon, Sask. to compete in the Canadian Rugby Championship (CRC) with the U20 Team BC rugby team, Maddie Avery of Little Heffley Lake, B.C. is looking forward to gaining experience in her new position as a centre.
“Prior to this, I was playing a position called flank. So I was a forward which is more of the stronger group, the tacklers. Now I’m playing a centre which is one of the back positions, more of the playmakers and kind of the ones that try to score the tries,” said Avery.
Avery was shocked when the coach at the University of McGill moved her into the position. While Avery started each game she said she’s looking forward to having the opportunity to develop her skills further in the position before returning to her university team in August.
“So it’s double my playing experience there (CRC) and prepares myself for the fall. I’m really excited for that,” she explained.
The Canadian Rugby Championships won’t be the first time Avery has represented Team BC in competition; last summer she was part of the U18 team that travelled to Europe to compete against Irish and French provincial teams.
With roughly two-thirds of this year’s U20 team made up of athletes who also went on the trip Avery said the team already has great chemistry heading into the national tournament.
Avery said she was unsure of how Team BC compared to the other provinces as she has never played at the national tournament but stated most years B.C. and Ontario are usually the top two competitors.
“As far as our team goes we have a really strong group of forwards and I would say we have a lot of fast girls… I play in the back and we have a lot of chemistry I would say,” she added.
Due to the majority of the athletes on Team BC playing university rugby and living across Canada the athletes will only compete in the single national tournament.
“The difference is that when we’re going to nationals it’s a tournament, so you play five games in five days versus university which is spread out. You have one game a week. It definitely takes a lot more preparation to play at a national tournament,” said Avery.
Meeting for four practices and one training camp prior to the competition the athletes have each had to work on their skills individually.
“It’s all position based. We get feedback from our coaches throughout the practices, so individually we all have things to work on, but as far as fitness goes that’s self-motivated,” said Avery.
Following the Canadian Rugby Championship Avery will spend a few more weeks at home before returning to McGill for summer training in late August.