Gryphons will benefit from new women’s team last summer

Christopher Cameron
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Tryouts opened Monday for 2014 NNEC rugby squads

NEW GLASGOW – They are still three weeks from naming their team, but Dougal MacInnis is confident his team will have lots of experience even after 11 players graduated last year.

Members of the North Nova Gryphons girls rugby team take part in fitness training during tryouts Monday afternoon at the Sobeys Sports Complex in Stellarton. Tryouts will take place over the next three weeks before the team is selected.

The reason he believes he will have an experienced North Nova girls rugby team is that nine players trying out this season played with the Pictou County Rugby Club’s women’s team over the summer. This is the first year the head coach has had the opportunity to have players who have played an extended season so he’s not 100 per cent sure what that will translate into on the field this season, but knows it is a major benefit.

“To be honest it’s the first year we’ve had this situation, so I really don’t know when we’re going to see this paying off for us,” he said. “The girls that played were very young compared to most in the women’s league so they gained a lot of experience and were good at that level, so they should be good playing high school rugby with us. They got four months off and are back at it now.”

Their NSSAF season won’t start until early April, with the team taking in a few tournaments as well early in the season. Right now it’s early in the process so MacInnis said they are looking at the fitness level of the players.

“It’s a short season so there’s not a lot of time to get into shape,” he said. “We want to see basic skills and their fitness right now because it’s a lot different than other sports. It’s not a given that skills will transfer over from other sports, so we’re looking to see what we’re working with and who we believe will be able to learn the game quickly and be in the best shape.”

MacInnis added that although they have a number of players at tryouts who have played in prior years they have no players on their team right now. He said everyone is given an equal opportunity for a spot.

“Every year we see some new kids out and they are the most hungry it seems,” he said. “We have a successful team and it’s a popular sport at the school, so everyone wants to be a part of it. Those first-year players usually are hungry to make the team right away.”

On Twitter: @NGNewsChris

Organizations: Pictou County Rugby Club

Geographic location: North Nova

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