One tough out

UPEI hosts jug­ger­naut St. FX in At­lantic univer­sity women’s rugby ac­tion

Journal Pioneer - - SPORTS - BY CHARLES REID

The chal­lenge is real for the UPEI Pan­thers women’s rugby team when it hosts the St. FX X-Women in At­lantic Univer­sity Sport women’s rugby ac­tion Satur­day in Char­lot­te­town.

St. FX (1-0) is the de­fend­ing na­tional champ (won its fifth over­all last sea­son), has won 14 of the last 15 AUS ti­tles and went un­de­feated last year in­clud­ing sweep­ing UPEI with a com­bined score of 92-10 in two meet­ings. It might be a David ver­sus Go­liath matchup for UPEI’s home opener, but Pan­thers head coach John LaBoyne will still load the sling.

“We pre­pare the same for ev­ery team. Deal­ing with their size, speed and strength is a chal­lenge,” said LaBoyne. “Their coach­ing is a key fac­tor, as well as their abil­ity to at­tract the top play­ers from all across Canada. We will need to be at our very best to play them.”

UPEI (0-1) is com­ing off a sea­son-open­ing 58-12 loss to Aca­dia last week­end, while St. FX de­mol­ished Saint Mary’s 105-0 in its home opener a week ago. LaBoyne said his squad is a lit­tle beat up af­ter the Aca­dia game, but will be set to go on Satur­day.

“We are down a few of (our) first 15 play­ers af­ter the Aca­dia game. How­ever our new play­ers have re­ally stepped up their play this week in prac­tice and will play with en­thu­si­asm against the na­tional cham­pi­ons,” said LaBoyne.

“It was not all doom and gloom af­ter the Aca­dia loss. We worked very hard on a num­ber of as­pects of our game and the play­ers re­sponded well. We are set up to per­form bet­ter in those ar­eas.”

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