Riversides’ girls rugby season began with a large turnout for the girls team this year and Math 9 and 11 teacher, Mr. Jeffrey Kwok, is coaching the team for the first time.

Kwok, who played rugby at SFU, gave a little bit of history about the sport. “You get a lot of growth from rugby. It’s really challenging, physically, mentally and emotionally,” said Kwok. “Unlike football, everyone gets the chance to play. Everyone has to be good at doing pretty much all the skills, and everybody gets a chance to be a huge team player.”

This year, the girls have their own team, but there were some years at Riverside without a  girls’ rugby team. A goal of theirs is to get better in terms of their rugby skills, fitness and teamwork. “So far, there has been a lot of effort and excitement. The players are good,” said Kwok. According to Kwok, throughout the few practices they’ve had, two standout players so far are Taylor Pettyjohn and Raiyah Tyers, who have presented a lot of leadership on the field.

This upcoming season, grade 9 rugby team player Lucia Chai looks forward to learning something new every practice as well as the benefits of teamwork, which is why she joined. “Working hard and teamwork can lead to us having a successful team,” said Chai. Currently, the team is going over the basic skills in practice such as tackling, passing and team plays.

The team is looking forward to trying their hardest in their upcoming games. Some of the teams they might meet in play are Chilliwack Secondary, Earl Marriott Secondary, Elgin Park Secondary, Gleneagle Secondary, Yale Secondary, Semiahmoo Secondary, Fleetwood Park Secondary and Mission Park Secondary. According to Kwok, a few secondary schools in Coquitlam have girls rugby teams, such as Gleneagle, Charles best and possibly Terry Fox this year.

With the new players who have joined the team and great teamwork and effort, the girls’ rugby team are off to a great start.