SHERBROOKE - Only a handful of athletes have tasted the success Lauren Arthur has at the age grade level during the 2011-2012 BC Rugby season. This past Fall, Arthur lifted a provincial club title with Abbotsford's U18 women's program. During the High School girl's rugby season, Arthur guided Abbotsford Collegiate to a provincial sevens championship and soon after saw the program through to an undefeated double-A provincial 15s title. Weeks later, Arthur was at the helm of the Fraser Valley women's U18 team who went undefeated at the BC Rugby Provincial Regional Championships. This weekend Arthur will have the opportunity to cap off a memorable season with a title that has eluded her grasp in her previous two years with the BC U18 women's provincial team; a national championship.
Arthur is one of nine returning players to the BC U18 women's provincial team who came up short in a 34-18 loss to Ontario in the 2011 national final in Calgary. With another year under their belts and a core of tested veterans guiding an experienced team, the young Abbotsford RFC product knows it's all or nothing at this week's Rugby Canada National Championship Festival in Sherbrooke.
"We want to make up for last year and we have lots of talent on this team. There are a couple of us in our third year at nationals and we are excited to have another chance at winning it all," said Arthur.
The list of three year players includes a number of BC's brightest prospects including Arthur's Abbotsford RFC and Fraser Valley team mate Madison Borrows, Meraloma's Jess Neilson and Kamloops' Caitie Ryan. The list of returning players from 2011 includes Jaimie Carrier and Jasmyn Niquidet out of Williams Lake, Bayside's Jade and Jenna Elidoros, and Cowichan's Kara Gailbrath.
"Catie was a junior player on the U17s a couple summers back and is now in her fifth year in the provincial program. We've got a lot of experience on this squad," said BC head coach Rick Pimlott.
In the 2011 final BC we were outmuscled by a larger and stronger Ontario side, but Pimlott says his team will have an extra edge this year.
"We are bigger in the scrum and we have more athleticism in the backs this year. The fitness level is really high and the girls have been working hard," added Pimlott. "These girls have been playing a lot of rugby as many of them just participated in the PRCs and then the BC Summer Games. They are ready."
The BC U18 women's team opens their tournament against Saskatchewan on Wednesday morning at 9:00am with their second match of the day scheduled for 2:00pm against Alberta.
For scoring and tournament updates on the BC U18 women's team follow BC Rugby on twitter at twitter.com/bcrugbyunion
NOTE: Day passes for spectators are $10. Weekend passes are $15 and tournament passes are $25. For more information visit events.rugbycanada.ca
British Columbia U18 Women
National Championships Schedule
9:00am Wed. August 8th: BC vs Saskatchewan
2:00pm Wed. August 8th: BC vs Alberta
9:00am Thurs. August 9th: BC vs Manitoba
2:00pm Thurs. August 9th: BC vs New Brunswick
Friday August 10th: Day Off
Saturday August 11th: Playoff Rounds
Sunday August 12th: Placement Finals
2011 Round-Robin Record: 3-0-1 (2nd)
2011 Gold Medal Final: Ontario 34-18 BC
BC U18 Women's Team Staff
Coach: Rick Pimlott
Coach: Brad Wightman
Manager: Asuka Kusano
Therapist: Monique Charbonneau
BC U18 Women's Roster
Name (School / Regional Team / Club)
Lizzie Adams (Shawnigan Lake School / Vancouver Island)
Lauren Arthur (Abbotsford Collegate / Fraser Valley / Abbotsford RFC)*
Nicole Bengco (Earl Merriott / Fraser Valley / Bayside AA)
Dana Beirnes (GP Vanier / Vancouver Island)
Sierra Bonner (Semiahmoo / Fraser Valley / Bayside AA)
Nikolina Boundy (Lord Tweedsmuir / Fraser Valley / Bayside AA)
Madison Borrows (Robert Bateman / Fraser Valley / Abbotsford RFC)*
Jaime Carrier (Columnetza / Williams Lake RFC)*
Cheyenne Conrad (Carson Graham / Vancouver)
Jade Elidoros (Lord Tweedsmuir / Fraser Valley / Bayside AA)*
Jenna Elidoros (Lord Tweedsmuir / Fraser Valley / Bayside AA)*
Molly Florian (GP Vanier / Vancouver Island / Comox Valley Kickers)
Kara Galbraith (Ladysmith / Vancouver Island / Cowichan Rugby Club)*
Samantha Jory (Cowichan / Vancouver Island / Cowichan Rugby)
Lauren Klassen (Walnut Grove / Fraser Valley)
Ciara Malone (Magee Secondary School / Vancouver / Meraloma Rugby Club)
April Martin (Lord Tweedsmuir / Fraser Valley / Bayside Athletic AA)
Alex Meuller (Lord Tweedsmuir / Fraser Valley / Bayside AA)
Keanna Mullen (Port Alberni / Vancouver Island / Port Alberni Black Sheep)
Jess Neilson (Carson Graham / Vancouver / Meraloma Rugby Club)*
Jasmyn Niquidet (Columneetza / Thompson Okanagan / Williams Lake RFC)*
Tiffany Picketts (Abbotsford Collegate / Fraser Valley / Abbotsford RFC)
Caitie Ryan (Sa-Hali / Thompson Okanagan / Kamloops RFC)*
Adrienne Saari (Cowichan / Vancouver Island / Cowichan Rugby Club)
Kayla Van Veld (Abbotsford Collegate / Fraser Valley / Abbotsford RFC)
* Denotes returning players from 2011 BC provincial team