Women In Rugby: Rebecca Matheson

March 08, 2020


Women In Rugby: Rebecca Matheson


March 8th, 2020

(WHITBY, ON) -  Today is International Women’s Day! Rugby Ontario is profiling three different women in the rugby community. Today’s profile is on Rebecca Matheson. Rebecca has served in many roles in the rugby community. She has been a player and is currently a Rugby Ontario Match Official. Read more about Rebecca’s story and stay tuned to Rugby Ontario’s social channels as we celebrate the amazing women within our community!

How did you first get involved with rugby?

My first rugby team was my high school rugby team, Orangeville District Secondary School Bears. I was planning on going out for the track and field team in grade 9 but with persistence from one of the coaches, I went out to the rugby tryout! I was hooked after the first day running with the ball and tackling. We sang rugby classics together like lean on me before games and my teammates became my second family!

What is your favourite rugby memory?

I have many incredible rugby memories. From my time as a player, a memory that I will never forget was playing in the OUA playoffs in 2014 with Western University and qualifying to go the CIS (now USPORT) championships! We were down in the first half, but there was an instant shift in the energy on the field once the whistle blew to start the second half. Everyone united together to have a massive come back in the second half. That game happened to be on my birthday and there was no better way to spend it than in that moment with my teammates! 

What do you love most about the sport?

I LOVE how much of an inclusive community rugby is. As a match official, I must say one of my absolute favourite rugby memories has been participating in the flag rugby tournaments in Nathan Philips square. I cannot explain how incredible it felt to be a part of the first mixed abilities rugby games in Canada in the middle of Toronto. This event highlighted that rugby is truly a sport for everyone! 

What makes you feel the most optimistic and excited about the growth of women’s rugby?

What makes me optimistic and excited about the women’s game is seeing all of the young athletes coming up from grassroots rugby to grow into leaders in the game as athletes, coaches and Match Officials! There are so many opportunities for girls and young women to develop leadership skills and resiliency that easily translates into success in the classroom and the workforce.

What are some of the challenges women’s rugby continues to face?

Woman’s rugby has been growing in Canada and it has been amazing to see our Women doing so well on the international stage in both 7s and 15s! One thing that I’ve seen improving but is still a challenge is getting women’s rugby more exposure!

Do you have a female athlete/coach/match official who inspired you to get involved in sport?

Dr. Natascha Wesch has been the most influential rugby mentor I have had throughout my involvement in the sport. She was my coach through my undergrad at Western University and the person who first started calling me by my nickname Red. Her application of her knowledge of sport psychology to the game and her coaching style has absolutely guided me through my rugby career as a player and now as a match official. It’s fitting that Natascha is being recognized for her contributions to the game with her induction into the Rugby Canada Hall of Fame happening this International Women’s Day weekend at the Vancouver 7s event!

What challenges have you faced as a female in sports?

Representation! Seeing and relating to other women in the game can be a challenge when the women’s game is still growing. Fortunately, I have been incredibly lucky to have several amazing female role models in the game as a match official like Karen Lozada, Rose LaBreche, and Sherry Trumbell in Ontario. More female participation is important and it is encouraging for young athletes to have relatable mentors and see what is possible in the game!

What would you say to a young female who is thinking of getting involved in rugby?

Rugby is an incredibly fun and empowering game to be involved in. You will feel strong and supported by a team of amazing people who can become lifelong friends. You just have to get out and try it!

What personal goals do you have for your rugby career?

I will be heading to Stellenbosch, South Africa this month to start my Masters in Sport Science at Stellenbosch University. I will be able to learn from many amazing people who live and breathe the game. While I am there, my goals are to submerse myself into the game to improve my rugby knowledge and feel for the game. Rugby is ever changing. I also want to continue build my fitness and my confidence on the field on hopes of  higher-level fixtures as a match official.

In an ideal world, what would the sport of rugby look like in 5 to 10 years?

In an ideal world in 5-10 years the sport of rugby would have a surplus in funding that allowed for the growth of a professional paid club competition in North American for both women and men. I would love to see the mixed abilities rugby program also grow to all the major cities across the country to increase participation in all levels of the game


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. The program includes representative teams from Under-15 to Senior in both Women’s and Men’s Fifteens and Under-18 Men's and Women's Sevens. Specifically, the program is designed to develop and showcase rugby players for Canadian representative national teams.


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/


Dalton Finkbeiner

 Communications and Marketing Coordinator - Rugby Ontario

    647-560-4790 x 1006