Vancouver Island's Lynzi Anderson vs Vancouver (Glenn Ivens Photo - gallery link)
ABBOTSFORD - Head coach of the Fraser Valley Rugby Union senior women's team Steph Murphy has announced her captains for the regional side's Ruth Hellerud-Brown Cup opener against Vancouver Island on Saturday. Boasting plenty of talent with rep experience, the Valley will be led by co-captains Crystal Nikolai of United Rugby Club and Emily Young of Kamloops RFC.
The Valley side has a number of representative athletes with experience ranging from age grade provincial programs right through to the senior national team. A few standouts identified by Murphy include Abbotsford RFC's Sonya Foulds and Elyssa Philipson, Bayside Athletic Association's Jodie 'Buffy' Cornell and her captains Nikolai and Young.
"Our two captains are on-field leaders by example and both bring not only a high work rate but smart decision making and a strong dedication to the team," Murphy said. "Emily has excellent vision of the field and [Crystal] has the ability to make things happen with her sense of urgency."
Preparations are well underway for the Fraser Valley side who have been gearing up with a solid core of 25 players attending their weekly sessions. The return of the Ruth Hellerud-Brown Cup will provide these players another opportunity to be noticed by provincial selectors, something not lost on the squad with Rugby Canada recently announcing Vancouver as the hosts of the National Women's League Finals this June.
"This competition is a key part of rugby in our province and we are so glad to have it back on the circuit," added Murphy. "Not only is the RHBC a venue for showcasing talents (upcoming and longstanding), but the friendships and connections that are made and maintained through competition is what makes rugby different from any other sport."
"This competition in particular, provides the opportunity to look outide our own clubs and focus on a bigger picture and I think we've been missing that in BC for the last few years at the senior level."
Fraser Valley's opponents on Saturday will be fresh off their 17-10 win over Vancouver last weekend and will be looking to close out their series 2-0 to lift the Cup. The young Island roster out paced Vancouver last week with a three-try performance and played an expansive attack to secure the victory. Laura Crowe-Hutchon, Kehla Guimond and Kara Galbrath each crossed over for tries and scrum half Lynzi Anderson was especially lethal in creating scoring opportunities.
"The close result from last weekend is likely to leave the Tide hungry for the try line once again," Murphy said. "And as they've already played one game, I'm sure the goal will be to leave everything out there. The Valley women are anxious to get on the field and into battle after weeks of preparation."
Saturday's Ruth Hellerud-Brown clash is set to kickoff at 11:00am at Abbotsford's Exhibition Park.
Fraser Valley Roster
1 Robin Chrosciewicz (Bayside); 2 Sonya Foulds (Abbotsford); 3 Cynthia Chang (United); 4 Laura Foreman (Bayside); 5 Meagan Chambers (Abbotsford); 6 Jozefina Kola (United); 7 Crystal 'Pixie' Nikola (United); 8 Kimberly Stockman (United); 9 Elyssa Phillipson (Abbotsford); 10 Shannon Craig (United); 11 Alicia Guerin (United); 12 Tanya Leigh (Bayside); 13 Jodie 'Buffy' Cornell (Bayside); 14 Rachel Craig (Bayside); 15 Emily Young (Kamloops)
16 Kayla Van Veld (Abbotsford); 17 Nicole Lyons (United); 18 Elysia Saundry (United); 19 Shay Paterson (Abbotsford); 20 Yuka Kubota (Abbotsford); 21 Yvonne Lai (United); 22 Lisa O'Neill (United); 23 Tenaia Gatland (Bayside)
Coach Steph Murphy; Coach Kyle Ferguson; Manager Jen Ross
BC Rugby Cups Competitions
The BC Rugby Cups Competitions are a series of inter union representative rugby matches to be played over three weekends. The series kicked off on January 26th with the Vancouver Island Rugby Union hosting the Vancouver Rugby Union in a triple-header at Westhills Stadium in Victoria. The Vancouver Island Tide senior men and women were both victorious on the day while their Under-20s fell to Vancouver.