ROUGH WRAP - Baylee Zobell attempts to bring down teammate Kayzia West during a tackling drill at a Rams Girls Rugby practice on Tuesday.

ROUGH WRAP - Baylee Zobell attempts to bring down teammate Kayzia West during a tackling drill at a Rams Girls Rugby practice on Tuesday.

Rams Rugby readies for season start

With the snow finally beginning to disappear, the Rams Girls Rugby team is eager to get on the field.

With the snow finally beginning to disappear, the Rams Girls Rugby team is eager to get on the field. Coach Jay Whitehead said the team has been practicing indoors for a few months now and hopes the long winter will pass soon so the competitive season can start in earnest.

Usually, the season runs from whenever the snow leaves to the end of May. In the past, that has given time for about six weeks of playing rugby, said Whitehead. However, the past few years there has only been time for about four weeks.

“Due to the snow hanging around, it’s been a bit shorter.”

The Rams play in the Central Alberta High School Rugby League which includes teams from Red Deer, Rocky Mountain House, Rimbey, Olds and Lacombe.

This year, the team has a nice mix of veterans and rookies, with slightly more numbers on the veteran end. Whitehead said the new players are developing well.

“I’ve been impressed so far with the new girls.” He added the more experienced players on the team have done a fantastic job of mentoring the younger ones and bringing them up to speed.

Madison Webb, a third-year veteran on the team, also said the team is improving and the younger players are developing well. “I think it’s looking good so far,” said Webb. “Even since we started practicing in the gym, there have been improvements.”

Whitehead agreed.

“I think it’s like any other season, they are getting the concepts down pretty quickly.”

He added that, no matter how well the team performs in practice, the first game is always difficult and so he hopes to have an exhibition game, slated for April 29, before the season actually starts.

“They forget everything they have been learning over six weeks,” said Whitehead. He added that it will be the Rams’ second game where they will actually be playing truer to their skill level.

“You never know how the first game is going to be until you play it,” added Webb.

Whitehead said so far, the team’s strengths seem to be speed, rucking and passing.

On the other hand, he said aggression is one trait the girls will really have to develop to be successful.

“I think that is probably where we have been weak the last year or so,” said Whitehead.

Overall though, the team gets along well and works well as a cohesive unit.

This is Whitehead’s fifth year coaching and the team’s fifth year in existence. He has been able to watch the team develop over the last few seasons and said he believes they are still the newest team in the league after five years.

Whitehead said the team has improved greatly going from no wins the first year, to having a few wins in later years to just missing a shot at provincials last season. He added this kind of record is about what you would expect from a brand new team.

“The first few years are always kind of teaching them and getting the basics.” He added he believes the team is now at a point where they have the fundamentals and can focus more on playing a higher competitive game.

Webb added the team’s cohesiveness is one of its biggest strengths and that also has improved with each season.

“I think we just come together more as a team each year,” said Webb. She added that Whitehead is good at introducing more aspects of the sport to the team each year to expand their knowledge of rugby.

This year, Whitehead and the rest of the team hope to build on last year’s successes and make it to the league final again. Whitehead added if they can progress to provincials as well, that would be an impressive goal.

news@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported five additional deaths Wednesday due to COVID-19. (File photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer at 169 active cases of COVID-19

Province set to move into Stage 2 of reopening Thursday

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Most Read