Mountaineers, OCAA introduce women’s 7s rugby

KITCHENER – The Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) has officially approved Women’s Rugby Sevens for the 2016-17 varsity season at its Annual General Meetings in Kitchener Thursday (April 28).

Rugby_BallThe new format will feature five colleges, including Conestoga (Kitchener), Humber (Etobicoke), Mohawk (Hamilton), Seneca (Markham) and Sheridan (Oakville). Alex Paris, who coached the Mountaineers women’s 15s last season, will coach the sevens.

A tournament-style league schedule has been adopted, with all games taking place on four separate days beginning Sept. 24 at Humber. Seneca, Conestoga and Mohawk host games on three dates in October.

Teams play each other four times (once per tournament site), with each outcome contributing to the regular season standings. Games consist of two seven-minute halves, played by seven players per side.

Sheridan plays host to the first-ever OCAA Women’s Rugby Sevens Championship on Nov. 5, with semifinal games between the top four regular season teams leading into bronze and gold medal contests. Post-season games consist of two 10-minute halves.

Rugby Sevens was played at the recent Pan American Games in Toronto. The sport makes its Olympic debut later this year in Rio de Janeiro.

While Mohawk and the others schools in the OCAA’s West division to play 7s, the traditional Women’s Rugby (with 15 players per side) will continue to be played by Algonquin (Ottawa), Fleming (Peterborough), Loyalist (Belleville) and St. Lawrence (Kingston). These clubs will play a double round robin regular season schedule, hosting three games while traveling for three. Games consist of two 40-minute halves. All teams advance to the post-season, with semifinal games and bronze and gold medal contests being played at the home of the higher seed.

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