From Oil Thigh to O Canada

Emma Chown represents Canada at FISU games

Emma Chown (white shirt) playing her first games for Canada Rugby 7s in Wales.
Emma Chown (white shirt) playing her first games for Canada Rugby 7s in Wales.
Supplied by Roger Chown

After breaking onto the scene as one of the most dominant players in women’s rugby, Emma Chown temporarily swapped her tri-colour uniform for a red and white kit.

Chown was one of just 12 players selected to represent Canada at the 7th Summer Universiade Games (FISU) , which took place on July 7 to 9 in Wales.  

The Canadian squad enjoyed a perfect 4-0 record during the first two days of the tournament, with wins against Portugal, Spain, Australia and China. Chown played her part, scoring one of the tries against Spain.

In the semi-final, Canada defeated China in a tight 7-5 match to advance to the final against France. Canada lost big time to France with a final result of 31-5 — Chown assisting Canada’s only score. 

Even though Chown was confident in her showing at the June tryout camp, she didn’t expect that this would be her year to make the team, due to the relatively short time she’s spent playing rugby. 

“I got an email during my lunch break at work and I opened it and thought it was going to be a ‘thank you for your
participation but we’re not choosing you this time’ email and I opened it and had a great day at work,” Chown, ArtSci ‘17, said with a laugh. 

It’s been a long time coming for Chown. After trying out for the Queen’s women’s hockey team and not making it, she went out for rugby and spent her first year as a redshirt — part of the practice squad. After limited playing time in her second year, Chown started on the wing for the Gaels last year, finishing second in scoring for the OUA with 12 tries. 

Selected as an OUA All-Star and winning a CIS silver medal all in the past year, Chown has begun her ascent in the
national program. She spent the latter-half of last year training with Rugby Canada 7s Ontario U20 Regional Development Program.

During the three-day tournament in Wales, Chown was immersed in an Olympic-type atmosphere. With opening and closing ceremonies, sharing meal halls and dormitories with athletes from across the world, Chown was left speechless.

“All of it was amazing, we just took it day by day and we did pretty well.” 

The fanfare and viewership of the FISU added a new level of excitement for Chown. 

“It was honestly maybe a bit more stressful, but it was stress that motivated you to do your best,” she said.

Still, the support from the viewers at home helped to quell any nerves.

“I knew the games were being streamed back home and it was nice to know that my teammates and my friends and family were watching online.” 

One of the most important things she hopes to take away from her time in Wales was how quickly the team came together. Since they only spent eight days together — some of the members met at the airport — Canada had a short amount of time to rally together for a run at the finals. 

“During the Queen’s season, you have such a longer time together and I think it’s really important that our team is able to bond like we did at FISU because I think that really contributed to our success.”

With Gaels training camp starting in August, Chown is ready for the season to start. 

“I’m just really excited that we have some good recruits and a lot of strong players coming back. We had a really great season last year and everyone is excited for the upcoming season.”

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