Queen Margaret’s School Grade 10 player Nuria Groos sprints away for a try against Campbell River’s combined Timberline/Carihi team during the Royals’ sevens tournament at the Cowichan Rugby Football Club last Thursday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Royals get experience at sevens tournament

Injuries end QMS’s hopes at playing in Islands

Queen Margaret’s School’s first foray into rugby sevens was a valuable, if costly, experience for the young players who suited up for the Royals.

The QMS team consisted of just nine players going into the first-ever Royals Rugby Sevens tournament at the Cowichan Rugby Football Club pitch last Thursday, and by the time the event wrapped, they had just enough healthy players to field a sevens side.

Skye Koyote, the Royals’ tournament all-star, fractured her ankle in her team’s last match, and another player is also recovering from an ankle injury, effectively ending the team’s debut season.

Injuries or not, the tournament proved worthwhile for the players.

“The playing time for them is really important to understanding the game,” QMS coach Marlene Donaldson said. “They all felt they understand the game better now. QMS students take losses really well.”

The Royals fell short of winning a match during the tournament, but Donaldson didn’t go in looking for results.

“Heading into the tournament, I knew that most schools would have more numbers and experience than we do,” she said. “So our placement in the tournament was not a surprise. Overall the QMS team had a successful tournament in that we were able to reach the goals we made for each game in regards to defence and passing.

“The girls left the tournament feeling like they understood the game so much more and they had fun. Development teams like ours need the game experience in order to enhance the rate of their development. One of our goals for next year will be to increase the numbers on our roster and this will increase our ability to understand skills and concepts at practice and sustain the rigors of the season.”

G.P. Vanier finished first in the tournament, followed by Mark R. Isfeld, Cowichan Secondary’s junior team, a combined team from Campbell River’s Timberline and Carihi secondary schools, Ballenas, and QMS in sixth.

Ballenas was supposed to play Nanaimo District Secondary for fifth place, and QMS was supposed to play Dover Bay for seventh, but both NDSS and Dover Bay had to withdraw from their last games because of injuries, so Ballenas and QMS squared off for fifth.

Joining Koyote as tournament all-stars were Cowichan Secondary’s Lucy Boon, Linnaea Crawshaw (Timberline/Carihi), Paige Ianconne (Ballenas), Jessica Postle (Isfeld), Lanaisa Parson (Vanier), Maddy Jones (NDSS) and Olivia Vallee (Dover Bay).

As a result of the injuries sustained by QMS last week, the Royals had to pull out of the Island girls sevens championships at Brentwood College School this Friday and Saturday.

Note: We mistakenly reported that this was QMS’s first attempt at fielding a rugby team. It is the first time QMS has had a rugby sevens side, but the school did have a XV side from 2000 to 2002.

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