Five women’s rugby players selected for Rugby’s Canada’s ‘Next Gen’ Camp

Victoria-based event will feature numerous players from this year’s national championship-winning roster

Image by: Curtis Heinzl
Five Gaels were selected to attend Rugby Canada's 7s 'Next Gen' Camp.

Five Queen’s women’s rugby players have been selected to Canada Rugby’s 7s ‘Next Gen’ Camp in Victoria, BC, from Mar. 6 to 11.

Taylor Perry, Carmen Izyk, Siobhan Sheerin, Jaden Walker, and Maddy Kushner—all third-year students—were selected for the camp, which is intended to survey up-and-coming stars of Canadian intercollegiate rugby. Only 34 players total were invited to the camp from across the country.

Kushner spoke to The Journal about her selection as one of the camp’s invitees.

“After two years of not doing 7s because of COVID, because my season in first year got cut short and then in second year we didn’t have a season at all, being able to play 7s next week is really exciting,” she said in an interview.

7s, a variation of rugby where there are only seven players—as opposed to 15­—on the pitch at a given time, and is a different style of play than Canadian intercollegiate rugby. Scoring and field size is the same, but 7s games are shorter in length, and players tend to be smaller and faster.

Rugby Canada, the national governing body for rugby in the nation, is hosting the camp. Taking place over the course of five days, athletes will engage in strength, speed, and endurance tests, as well as on-field drills and matches.

Depending on their performance at the camp, players can be selected to return for the 7s ‘Next Gen’ tournament in April, where U Sports players will go head-to-head with the Canada Maple Leafs—another team comprised of ‘Next Gen’ players under-22—and square up against next-gen teams from the United States.

Despite the testing-based nature of the event, Kushner mentioned the camp is less of a tryout and more of a showcase.

“I think it’s just a way for Rugby Canada to see where the next generation of athletes lie,” she said. “It’s not necessarily a tryout, it’s more so just to see a new cohort of girls coming up.”

“I feel like most players will get selected again to go back out and do [the] tournament in April.”

Having spent time in Victoria in the past, Kushner is excited to return—especially considering she didn’t know the camp was taking place until she had already been selected.

“I got the e-mail really early in [the] morning before training. I read it at like 6 a.m., and I was really excited,” she said.

“I didn’t know anything was going to happen with Rugby Canada this year at all, so it was very surprising.”

Head coach Dan Valley also spoke to The Journal about numerous players from his roster being selected for the camp.

“It’s super exciting for each of them as individuals to be recognized for being that caliber of athlete and having that potential to go onto a stage like that and succeed,” he said.

Valley also stated it adds depth to the recruiting process when meeting with prospective athletes.

“When I’m sitting down and talking to someone about the prospect of coming to Queen’s University, some of those people have aspirations of being Olympians and going to Rugby World Cups,” he said.

“Because we have a track record that demonstrates it, I do always say, ‘Listen, you want to play for Canada? Well, in my humble opinion, Queen’s University is the best road to the national team.’”


Next Gen Camp, rugby, Women's rugby

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