WOLFVILLE, NS - The top female university rugby players will be bound for Wolfville next year as they pursue the national championships.
Acadia University and U SPORTS announced Oct. 19 that the 2018 U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Championship will be hosted by Acadia University in Wolfville on Nov. 1-4, 2018.
The 2018 season will mark the 16th year that the Acadia Axewomen rugby program has been a varsity sport and the 21st anniversary of the women’s rugby national championship.
“We are excited for the U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Championship to be held at Acadia University in 2018,” said Graham Brown, president and chief executive officer of U SPORTS. “After hosting a successful Women’s Soccer Championship last season, and with the 2018 Men’s Basketball Final 8 around the corner, Acadia has proven to be a prime destination for our national events, while helping us build university sports in Canada.”
The Acadia Axewomen have become a national contender over the last five seasons, capturing its first AUS title in 2015. The Axewomen have been AUS finalists for the last seven seasons and attended three of the last five national championships since their first visit in 2012 at StFX.
“Acadia University is very proud to be named the host of the 2018 U SPORTS Women's Rugby Championship. Rugby is having tremendous success in Nova Scotia and in the Annapolis Valley, as evidenced by the incredible number of fans that follow and have attended our Axewomen games in recent years,” said executive director of Athletics and Community Events, Kevin Dickie.
“Our program has become a perennial national championship participant, so to have a chance to compete for a U SPORTS banner on Raymond Field is both special, and well deserved.”
Acadia Athletics hosted the 2016 U SPORTS Women’s Soccer Championship with a positive response from participants and fans as one of the top championships in women’s soccer history.
Of the 19 U SPORTS championships played since 1998, only two have been in Atlantic Canada, including StFX in 2012 and the AUS conference office hosting in 2004.
Head coach of the rugby Axewomen ,Matthew Durant, who was named the U SPORTS Coach of the Year in 2013, noted the importance of the event being hosted in Atlantic Canada.
“We are incredibly excited to be able to host the 2018 national championships. We see this as a great opportunity for us to showcase the beauty of Nova Scotia, the Annapolis Valley and Acadia University,” said Durant.
“Our local support for athletics in Wolfville is exemplary and the fan support will be outstanding. This is a great time for us to expand the profile of rugby in Atlantic Canada. Rugby has been growing in popularity across the country and nowhere is this growth stronger than in Nova Scotia. We see this as the perfect time to host the top tournament for Canadian women’s rugby in a friendly, engaged and hospitable locale.”
The AUS will gain two berths to the U SPORTS Championship, hosted by the University of Lethbridge Nov. 2-5.