Former Queen's rugby player is Rio bound

LeBreche (centre) was the lone Canadian selected to referee Rugby Sevens.
LeBreche (centre) was the lone Canadian selected to referee Rugby Sevens.
Supplied by Rugby Canada

As Rugby Sevens makes its inaugural appearance at the fast approaching Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio, former Gael Rose LaBreche (BSc. ’10), will make history as one of 12 women’s rugby match officials. 

LaBreche is also representing Canada in this prestigious role as the sole Canadian Sevens match official  — male or female. A keen rugby player herself, LaBreche was forced to give up playing the sport in 2011 due to a serious concussion. 

2016 won’t be the first time rugby appeared at the Olympics — Rugby Union, the better known version of the sport that features 15 players on either team, previously appeared in the Olympic Games between the years 1900-24. 

The most obvious differences between Rugby Sevens and Rugby Union are the number of players and the amount of game time. While the pitch remains the same size and the rules of the game remain the same, the technical and tactical aspects of the game differ greatly.

Sevens is a much faster paced and high energy game than the 80-minute Union game. With only 14 minutes of playing time in a match, there is little room for error on both the parts of the players and the officials. This small window of game time means that the calls that officials like Labreche will make could have huge impacts on game outcomes. 

The Queen’s Gaels rugby teams play Sevens primarily as a method of developing their player’s skills during the fall season.

The 2016 Summer Olympics begin on August 5 with the Rugby Sevens tournament running from the 6 to 11 with the women’s tournament occurring from the 6 to the 8.

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