December 29, 2020 – Vancouver, BC: Caroline Crossley is quickly becoming a household name among British Columbia rugby fans. A member of the Canadian national women’s sevens team, the Victoria native helped Canada to gold medals at the Pan-American Games in Peru and the HSBC Kitakyushu Sevens in Japan last year, and is working towards representing Canada at the Tokyo Olympics this coming summer. With the girls’ game growing across the province, thousands of young rugby players look up to Crossley, a BC athlete making an impact on the international stage for Canada.
One of those girls is Meghan Henery of United Rugby Club. As a young girl playing rugby, the annual HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens event in Langford, BC provides an incredible opportunity to see the stars of the women’s game up close. Meghan’s father, United Rugby Club Mini Coordinator Peter Henery, says that the event has been a fantastic inspiration to Meghan.
“Sevens rugby is amazing. It’s fast, it’s exciting, it’s engaging,” said Henery. “The tournament in Langford offers a different perspective – the proximity to the athletes really adds a level of enjoyment and inspiration for Meghan that I can’t put into words. She gets to watch her heroes play the sport that she does.”
During an online planning meeting in November focused on girls’ rugby programming, Henery and Caroline’s father David Crossley discussed the common ground they shared, both involved in club administration and both fathers who have passed down their love of rugby to their daughters. Caroline’s father David Crossley founded the junior girls’ rugby program at Castaway Wanderers RFC, a program his daughter participated in alongside XVs national team player Sophie de Goede. With girls’ rugby continuing to grow, Peter Henery has worked to create more opportunities for girls to play, launching the club’s first girls-only program in 2020.
Henery thanked Crossley for his efforts to grow girls’ rugby in BC that helped lay the groundwork not only for both Caroline and Meghan to po play the sport they love, but the numerous atheletes that have come through girls’ rugby programs at Castaway Wanderers and United since. Henery also mentioned that his daughter Meghan was a huge fan of the Canadian women’s sevens team, and Crossley decided to reach out to his daughter Caroline to arrange a priceless Christmas gift for the younger Henery.
On Christmas morning, Meghan Henery opened up a Canada women’s sevens jersey bearing Caroline Crossley’s #3 and the signatures of every member of the Canadian national women’s sevens team, pieces of training gear, and a personal letter written by Caroline’s teammate Bianca Farella.
“We wanted to inspire her to strive for her goals in rugby, whatever they may be,” said Caroline. Hopefully, our performances on the international stage and the Olympics this summer can fuel the belief that Canada can compete with the best in the world.”
Both Crossleys stressed the importance of rugby as not just a sport, but a community.
“Camaraderie, community, the emphasis of the team over the individual is tremendous – it’s been a big influence over my life” said David. Caroline added: “Rugby is different because of the inclusivity of the sport. The people I’ve met, the connections I’ve made – it’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It’s brought me so many incredible opportunities.”
“I was simply floored”, Peter Henery said of the gift his daughter received from the Crossleys. When I think about it now, I shouldn’t have been surprised, because that’s what rugby people do. We look after each other, we take care of the support, and we try to make sure everybody has wonderful experiences.”