Comox Valley rugby star makes provincial team

Daris Tendler of the Comox Valley Kickers has been selected to the B.C. women’s team that will compete at the Vancouver Rugby Festival March 8 and 9 at BC Place. Complementing the Canada Sevens Vancouver Tournament, the event provides a stage for elite teams preparing for rugby sevens in summer.

Tendler was part of the Vancouver Island Crimson Tide women’s select team that beat the mainland squad in a December match in Cowichan. The teams meet once or twice a year for games that help select provincial teams. It was Tendler’s first game back in nearly a year while recovering from ACL reconstruction.

“Our Comox Valley Kickers were well represented in this game,” said Tendler, who usually plays outside/inside centre or fullback. “It’s great to see our team growing and developing, raising the skill level here in the Valley.”

Rugby isn’t Tendler’s only sport of choice. She played high school hockey at Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Saskatchewan, where she was convinced to try rugby. She loved it, but had to put the sport on hold after earning a full-ride, Division 1 hockey scholarship to Clarkson University in Upstate New York. Upon graduating, she returned to the rugby pitch. She played for a year in Sydney, Australia, and six months in Italy.

“It’s a great way to instantly have 20 new friends,” said Tendler, the owner of Core Studio & Stretch Therapy in Comox.

She still plays hockey on occasion, but her focus is rugby. Although a seven-aside game is over in 14 minutes, it involves non-stop sprinting and some tackling. A full complement of 15 players helps cover the field.

“So it’s not go, go, go for the 80 minutes, but more contact,” Tendler said. “A good comparison would be running up the stairs at Goose Spit, or a lap around the track. Both challenging, but require different energy outputs.”

She loves being able to play rugby year-round in the Valley. Because it’s not an easy sport on the body, Tendler practices yoga on a regular basis, and is always looking for new ways to stay in shape. She has tried marathon running — she completed one in 2013 in Regina — but says nothing compares to sprinting down a field while being chased by opponents.

“It’s a growing sport, especially with sevens rugby now in the Olympics,” Tendler said. “We (Comox Valley Kickers) are always looking to grow our team in the Valley.”


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