Ontario Jr. Blues: U18 Women's Elite Ohio Series Recap
U18 Blues Elite vs. High School All-Midwest Team - Competition Overview
(GRANVILLE, OH) - The Under-18 Rugby Ontario Junior Blues Women’s Elite squad competed against the USA High School All-Midwests in Granville, Ohio from July 25-29, 2017. The U18 Elite squad featured 12 newly capped Ontario players as the ladies travelled south of border to spend a week at Denison University wherein the young women got an opportunity to experience what a test series is like. While at Denison University, the Blues played a total of three games in which they would play every other day; spending time training and recovering during their off days. The coaching staff was extremely impressed with the work that the girls put in as they embraced the processes and structures that were put in place by the coaching staff. This three-game competition structure south of the border promoted junior elite level rugby while allowing room for growth, improvement and exposure each game. On behalf of the players and coaches with the Under-18 Ontario Junior Blues Women’s Elite squad, Rugby Ontario would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to Garret Fisher and Denison University for their hospitality during our stay in Ohio.
Game #1 – July 25, 2017
Score: (L) Blues 12 vs. 17 MW
The Under-18 USA All-Midwest squad got off to a hot start against the Under-18 Elite Junior Blues as they took a commanding 10-0 lead to start the opening half. The Blues were left off the scoreboard in the first half, but the second half was a different story. After the Americans added another try seven minutes into the second half, the Midwest squad took a commanding 15-0 lead with plenty of time left on the clock. A scoreless Ontario squad soon became hungry as winger Jenna Rainville took matters into her own hands – scoring twice in the contest – while Hanna Fitzgerald slotted one of two conversions on the day. With only 12 points on the board late in the second half, this contest was just out of reach. The Blues fell to the US Midwest team in game one by a fulltime score of 17-12.
Game #2 – July 27, 2017
Score: (W) Blues 24 vs. 12 MW
Looking to bounce back from a tough loss in game one, the U18 Elite squad came out itching to put points up on the board. Ontario started this game with quick line speed, effective communication and a sound defensive structure, setting the tone early in game two against the Americans. The Blues offense capitalized early on in this one. They scored and converted on two tries within the opening 10 minutes to take a 14-0 lead. A scoreless USA Midwest squad was fast to answer, as the Americans responded with a try and conversion of their own. As rain began to become a factor, Blues scrumhalf Sydney Seymour didn’t let the elements impact her game. She scored her first try of the competition, making it a 19-7 game for the Ontario side. As the rain continued to pour, Ontario stuck to their game plan. Lizzy Gibson put the Blues ahead by another try – making it a 24-7 game late in the second half. After a few Ontario substitutions were made, the Americans answered back with a try of their own to bring this game to a score of 24-12 in favour of the Canadians. As the Blues defence remained strong and cohesive, the Americans were unable to penetrate the hardnosed defensive structure put in place by head coach Rebecca Delaney. Ontario took game two by a fulltime score of 24-12, evening the series up at one game apiece.
Game #3 – July 29, 2017
Score: (L) Blues 12 vs. 19 MW - July 29, 2017
The third and final game of competition between the Under-18 Ontario Junior Blues and the USA Midwest Selects at Denison University in Granville, Ohio would be the deciding game in crowning the competition series winner. The Midwest side got the ball rolling early in the series finale. They converted on an early try and slotted two penalty kicks within the first half to give the Americans a 13-7 edge over a visiting Blues squad. As Ontario battled with penalty trouble throughout the second half, the Americans took advantage of their field position, slotting two more penalty kicks to give the US Selects a 19-12 lead. Down by a try, the Blues rallied together, piecing together several phases of fast-paced, explosive rugby late in the game. Though the Blues were eager to even things up, the Americans defence held their own to win the third and final game by a fulltime score of 19-12. The host squad USA High School All-Midwests came out on top in the three-game competition series with a 2-1 record against the U18 Ontario Junior Blues Elite Women. The competition in this series was extremely close as both teams scored an accumulative total of 48 points throughout the three games.
ABOUT THE ONTARIO BLUES
The Ontario Blues program is the high performance representative program for male and female rugby players in Ontario. Rugby Ontario is represented at the provincial level by the Ontario Blues High Performance program. The program includes representative teams from Under-15 to Senior in both Women’s and Men’s Fifteens. Specifically, the program is designed to develop and showcase rugby players for Canadian representative national teams.
ABOUT RUGBY ONTARIO
Rugby Ontario is the provincial sports governing body responsible for the organization of rugby in Ontario. Our mission is to establish a stronger identity for rugby in Ontario by promoting the sport’s core values and by fostering a culture of inclusiveness and excellence on and off the field of play.
To learn more, visit http://www.rugbyontario.com/
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High Performance and Communications Intern