‘Broad amount of tal­ent’

Hants County’s Ma­chine women prov­ing to be a dom­i­nat­ing force this sea­son

Valley Journal Advertiser - - SPORTS - BY CA­ROLE MOR­RIS- UN­DER­HILL HANTSJOURNAL. CA Ca­role.Mor­ris-Un­der­hill@hantsjournal.ca

Hants County’s women’s rugby team is bull­doz­ing over the com­pe­ti­tion this sea­son.

Of the three games played to date, the women have won all of them by a con­sid­er­able mar­gin.

War­ren MacLeod, a coach for the Hants County Rugby Foot­ball Club’s Ma­chine women’s divi­sion 2 team, at­tributes much of their dom­i­nat­ing per­for­mance to the tal­ented ath­letes and how well the team has gelled.

“I think the stand out for me this year has been... in all of the games we’ve played, we’ve had seven, eight, nine try scor­ers. It’s re­ally spread out across the team, which is re­ally great to see be­cause it means that you have a broad amount of tal­ent there,” said MacLeod.

“I’m re­ally pleased with the girls and their progress.”

MacLeod co- coaches the team with Ben Brown. He said the team de­cided at the first prac­tice that the play­ers were go­ing to change up per­spec­tives and fo­cus on hav­ing more fun this sea­son.

Tra­di­tion­ally, the women prac­ticed Tues­days and Thurs­days. Af­ter dis­cussing their sched­ule as a team, it was de­cided the women would prac­tice on Thurs­days and spend Tues­days do­ing team- build­ing ex­er­cises.

“For ex­am­ple, a cou­ple of weeks ago, we went up to Scott’s Bay and picked up plas­tic on the beach there and then had a bar­be­cue,” said MacLeod. “I think next week we’re plan­ning to go play rugby on a beach some­where.”

That’s helped build a strong ca­ma­raderie, and in turn, has at­tracted more women to join the squad.

“We have more girls reg­is­tered this year than we have had in many years,” said MacLeod, not­ing the team has a wide range of skill lev­els and tal­ent.

The Ma­chine has sev­eral play­ers that have been short­listed for na­tional teams, and sev­eral are mem­bers of the Nova Sco­tia Keltics.

“There’s a lot of tal­ent on the team and that trans­lates to re­ally en­ter­tain­ing rugby,” said MacLeod.

“The great thing is the ju­nior girls and the girls who don’t know how to play rugby are learn­ing from the ex­pe­ri­enced girls and there seems to be a re­ally good bond there.”

MacLeod said the new chal­lenge cup se­ries played at the Oak­ley Graves site in Hal­i­fax on Sun­days is also help­ing to fur­ther de­velop the skill set of the up-and-com­ing rugby play­ers.

“That’s just been in­sti­tuted this year and it’s fan­tas­tic. Re­ally, re­ally good for de­vel­op­ing rugby,” said MacLeod. “I think the rea­son they in­sti­tuted that was to give a bridge for high school play­ers that might not have the con­fi­dence to step right into a Divi­sion 2 or Divi­sion 1 league game. (They) can step into some­thing that is not quite as com­pet­i­tive, that’s got more girls at a ju­nior skill level.”

The Ma­chine women who par­tic­i­pate in the chal­lenge cup games also see some reg­u­lar league ac­tion, usu­ally in the sec­ond half.

The Ma­chine took on the Dart­mouth Pig Dogs for their first match of the sea­son and won 67- 0. Their sec­ond game saw them de­feat Char­lot­te­town 116-5. On June 28, they hosted the Hal­i­fax Tars and won 92-22.

Up next is a home game against Pic­tou County, which MacLeod said should be a much closer bat­tle — and one that rugby fans will want to watch. The game is sched­uled for July 28 at 1 p. m. at the pitch at King’s-Edge­hill School.

CA­ROLE MOR­RIS-UN­DER­HILL

Aca­dia Univer­sity’s Monique Cof­fey put on a spec­tac­u­lar dis­play June 28, tack­ling play­ers, scor­ing tries and as­sist­ing in big plays for the Ma­chine. Also pic­tured run­ning in sup­port is Carla de Toit.

CA­ROLE MOR­RIS-UN­DER­HILL

Carla du Toit holds on tightly to the ball as a Hal­i­fax Tars player at­tempts to tackle her.

CA­ROLE MOR­RIS-UN­DER­HILL

The Ma­chine were re­lent­less when they took on the Hal­i­fax Tars June 28.

CA­ROLE MOR­RIS-UN­DER­HILL

The Ma­chine share a laugh af­ter they un­ex­pect­edly hoisted a player up and over dur­ing a ruck.

CA­ROLE MOR­RIS-UN­DER­HILL

Car­rie Woods tries to rip the ball away from the Hal­i­fax Tars player as her team­mate makes the tackle.

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