Losing by 49 points at home in Wednesday’s shutout by the Druids wasn’t that bad of a score for the St. Albert Reds.
The week before the developmental women’s rugby team was blasted 65-10 by the visiting Rockers.
“We definitely improved from the game against the Rockers,” said prop Jasmine Van Staveren. “The forwards worked well together in the pack. We were a lot tighter. We worked as a unit instead of separately. We were also getting it out to the backs and they did a wonderful job of passing and running forward and that’s another improvement from last week.”
The Druids (2-2) racked up nine tries and two converts. They led by 17 at halftime.
“Honestly, after losing to the Rockers, you couldn’t ask for a better game. I’m so proud of the girls,” Van Staveren said.
The starting 15 was basically the same side that played the Rockers (1-2). The season debuts by sisters Sarah and Katie Davis gave the Reds a big boost.
Some of the St. Albert Blues also saw action with the Reds. The previous week the Blues (3-0) smoked the Druids 67-24 the same day the Reds (1-3) fell to the Rockers.
“Our goal for this game was to progress more. We’re a developing team working on becoming really strong in div two and we wanted to play the best game we could,” Van Staveren said.
The loss was the third in a row for the second division Reds and during the winless streak they were outscored 151 to 15.
“Losing like that hasn’t been that tough. Everyone has got to start somewhere, right?” Van Staveren said. “From day one the girls have improved so much. We’ve made progression every single game. The seniors are learning how to lead and learning new ways of teaching people and the beginners are learning new things all the time about rugby.”
Next year the Blues will move up into the Alberta premier league while the Reds will stay in the Edmonton Rugby Union’s second division.
“That’s our goal and we’re going to keep working towards it. We think we can do it and it will be exciting to see what the outcomes are at the end of the season.”
Not since 2006 has the St. Albert Rugby Football Club fielded two women’s teams.
“It’s great seeing a lot more new girls out because it’s building rugby here,” Van Staveren said. “Before you could hardly get enough people out for one team and now we have enough for two teams. I can’t wait for the next few years to see it grow even more.”
The high school product of the Bellerose Bulldogs was a physical force against the Druids as the Reds’ player of the game. She also shone against the Rockers and scored one of the team’s two tries. This is her second year at the club level.
“Going from high school to club is a big jump but it’s exciting to learn new ways and have that extra competition,” said the member of the U19 Alberta bronze medallists at the 2008 Rugby Canada National Championships Festival. “Moving up to Team Alberta was interesting to see a different level and the different coaches and how they coach and just learning different ways of doing it. As a player I want to improve myself any way I possibly can and that’s the way to do it.”
St. Albert women’s coach Cory Albrecht convinced Van Staveren she had the right stuff to excel in the sport.
“When I was in Grade 3 my brother [Dustin] played rugby for Cory [at Bellerose]. He saw me one day and told me, ‘You’re going to play rugby for me some day.’ Then in Grade 10 he wanted me to come out and play. He said, ‘You have the perfect size. You’ll be great.’ That’s when I started doing it,” said the U23 Alberta hopeful. “It’s an amazing sport and the atmosphere at this club is like family. Not many sports can actually say that.”
The Reds play again next Saturday against the Fort McMurray Knights (1-2) in St. Albert at 2 p.m. During the Rainmaker Rodeo weekend the Blues pummelled the visiting Knights 103-0. The Blues are on the pitch Wednesday against the Lep/Tigers (2-2) at 7 p.m. at Ellerslie Rugby Park.