Queen’s to host 2020 Women’s Rugby U Sports Championships

Gaels win bid to host tournament for the first time since 2015

Queen's hosted the U Sports Championships in 2015, coming away with a silver medal.
Queen's hosted the U Sports Championships in 2015, coming away with a silver medal.
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Early in December, U Sports awarded Queen’s the opportunity to host the 2020 Women’s Rugby National Championship. As the host school, the Gaels are guaranteed a spot in the tournament. 

In an interview with The Journal, women’s rugby Head Coach Dan Valley said the tournament will be an opportunity to showcase the school, his program, and the Kingston community at-large. 

“I know [Queen’s] prides itself on putting on a very good show for the people that they’re welcoming onto campus and into the Kingston community, so it will be pretty cool,” said Valley, who in the fall completed his second season as the Gaels’ head coach.

“There are guidelines that they have to follow and people that need to liaison with U Sports, but it will very much have a Queen’s flavour to it.”

As for performing in the tournament, Valley said the automatic berth won’t distract his team from their regular season goals. “It’s nice to know that you’re going to compete at a national championship no matter how things go, but at the same time, I like having the pressure of having to qualify and earn your way in,” Valley said. 

“It certainly is a message that I imagine we’ll have to come back to at one or two points in the season to just go, ‘We know we’re going, but we want to be going in as the OUA champions, and not as the host team.’”

The Gaels last hosted the U Sports Championships in 2015. Despite a fourth-place OUA finish in that year’s regular season, the team came away with a silver medal after upsetting some of the country’s top competition. 

In 2016, Queen’s missed out on the national championship after finishing fourth again, but qualified the subsequent season—Valley’s first with the program—to rank fifth in the country. After an OUA silver medal in 2018-19, Queen’s travelled to Wolfville, N.S. for U Sports in November, where they finished sixth among a field of eight teams. 

Despite an exciting bit of news, Valley said his team’s attention is focused on the 2019-20 competitive season before they think of the 2020 tournament. 

“I think we’ve done a good job of being excited about it initially,” Valley said. “And now it’s, ‘Okay, let’s get back to work for the season that’s directly in front of us, where our aspirations and our potential is sky-high.’”

 

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