Ottawa Gee-Gees head to Portugal for Rugby Sevens
OTTAWA - Gee-Gees rugby star Natasha Watcham-Roy may only be 18 years old, but don't let her age fool you.
The national level athlete will be the youngest of fourteen players representing Canada at the 2010 FISU World University Rugby Sevens Championship in Oporto, Portugal, from July 21 to July 24, 2010. She was only 17 years old when tryouts took place and when she competed with the Canadian team at an international tournament in Las Vegas this past February.
Despite suffering a season-ending injury in her third match, the Val-des-Monts, Qué., native still managed to have an incredible rookie year with the Gee-Gees. She was a dominant force – and leading scorer – for the garnet and grey in their first three contests, scoring a pair of tries in their season opener and an additional try in each of the next two games to help the Gee-Gees to a perfect 3-0 start to their season.
Watcham-Roy will also be joined by Gee-Gees teammate Janine McKay, who got quite the surprise when she was called up only two weeks ago to replace a team member who could no longer attend. Fortunately, on such short notice, the Barrie, Ont., was able to arrange time off with from work to participate. "She's pretty excited, said head coach Suzanne Chaulk. She's been working hard since then to catch up."
Looking ahead to the World University Championship, Watcham-Roy says she is looking forward to "gaining experience, having the opportunity to play against some of the best women in the world and learning more about Sevens rugby. It will be amazing to play at this level and with this amazing group of players," she added
Watcham-Roy has been training extensively on her own over the course of the spring and summer to prepare for the big event – at the gym four times a week and running six times a week at least – something Chaulk was quick to credit.
"She's really worked hard for this. For a 17-year-old to find that kind of work ethic and to be training this hard on her own is outstanding. She is a poster child for a national program such as this."
Chaulk will be returning as head coach for her fourth championship, having steered team Canada to gold medal performances in Beijing, China in 2004, and Rome, Italy in 2006 and a silver finish in Cordoba, Spain in 2008. She will also be joined by Gee-Gee assistant coach Jean-Philippe Lavoie, strength and conditioning coach Hassan Saeed, and team physiotherapist Carrie Smith.
The team will be training together in Ottawa all week and will be taking off for Portugal this Friday, July 16.
Although the final schedule is not yet determined, the team is guaranteed games against Norway, Great Britain and Ghana.
Chaulk says that this event will be a huge experience for the girls. "Both McKay and Watcham-Roy are very gifted athletes. Varsity is just a step on the ladder for them. Their participation on this team will be a key step on the ladder towards the senior national team."
Ottawa Sports Info