From left: manager Hazel Bice, U15 asst. Aimee Burley, Jessica Postle, Hannah Bourbyn, Francis Nye, Maddy Thran, Olivia Jean, Sienna Stigant, Jade Froehlich, Lauren Sargent and U16 asst. Mimi Appelbe

Comox Valley girls contribute to medal haul at rugby Westerns

Several Comox Valley rugby players were part of the B.C. U16 and U15 girls teams that won gold and silver respectively at the U16 Western Championships in Kelowna.

Scoring more than 100 points in their first two games alone, the U16s won all six of their games at the July 25-28 tournament.

“This U16 B.C. team is one the most talented groups I’ve seen in years, and locals Jade Froehlich and Hannah Bourbyn were right there at the forefront,” said Mimi Appelbe of Courtenay, assistant coach of the U16s. “Jade played her usual fiesty game. She’s a great blend of a forward and a back, using both sets of skills to keep the game flowing and fight her way through contact. She may be small but she is fierce.”

After missing most of training camp due to injury, Hannah was hungry to prove herself.

“She was part of a stellar front row that dominated many of the scrums,” Appelbe said. “She executed her usual tank-style runs, committing multiple tacklers and therefore opening up the field for other runners.”

En route to the gold medal match, the U15s beat teams from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta White and Black. After conceding just three tries before the final, the girls fell to the strong U16s.

Comox Valley players Maddy Thran and Olivia Jean were solid all around, aiding in the strongest scrummaging team of the tournament. Eightman Jessica Postle had a standout tournament, with relentless defence and strong runs. Centre Sienna Stigant — who scored six tries — and Francis Nye on the wing were also assets to the team. Nye scored the only try against the U16s in the final.

“This tournament was such an experience for these athletes, a lot of them in their first year playing the sport,” said Aimee Burley of the Comox Valley Kickers, who was the U15 assistant coach at Westerns. “They were pushed to the limits, playing six games in four days and pushed through regardless of the heat or how tired they may have been.”

“I’ve been in Comox a year, and I’ve been so impressed by the strength of the Vanier, Isfeld and North Island Tsunami programs. as well as the support from the community,” Appelbe added.

The Kickers club season starts early September. New players are always welcome. Visit comoxvalleyrugby.ca for more details.

For more information on mini rugby (ages 5-12) and junior (13-19), contact Ona Thorington at cvkickersjrrugbyops@gmail.com.

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