WOLFVILLE – Acadia has announced it will host a 10-day international rugby series this summer as the Canadian National Women’s U20 team takes on England’s women’s U20 team in a three-game matchup.
The school also announced another exciting sporting event to overlap with the international series – that Acadia and Rugby Nova Scotia will also host the Eastern Canadian Rugby Championships from Aug. 12 to 19.
Acadia Athletics director Kevin Dickie is feeling excited for the university, town and Kings County as he thinks of what this event will mean for the region as a whole.
“It’s not just what it means for Acadia. It’s what it means for the entire Annapolis Valley in terms of event tourism. Everybody wins,” said Dickey.
Local teams to benefit from exposure
Local businesses are not the only groups that will benefit from both events coming to Acadia this summer – local rugby teams will also reap the rewards of being exposed to top-notch rugby athletes, according to Dickie.
The eastern finals are expected to draw 1,000 people to Wolfville, as players from 35 male and female U16 and U18 division teams from Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, their families and fans flock to the town for the event.
The Canadian team will also use the university as their training base this summer during the 10-day series, with the matches against England will take place Aug. 10, 14 and 18.
And, on top of that, Acadia will also host the U Sports women’s rugby nationals this year, from Nov. 1-4.
Dickie recalls women’s soccer participation rise throughout the region after the school hosted the women’s soccer championship in 2016, and believes the same will happen for rugby.
“These young athletes are inspired to continue on by role models who show them they can pursue [the sport] at the highest level,” he said.
Rugby on the rise in Nova Scotia
Dickie also confirmed participation in rugby across the province is at an all-time high, and teams are showing they are a force to be reckoned with at competitions.
“You see the success Nova Scotia has had, men and women, at the national level, over past four years or so, and it’s impossible to deny the strength of these teams,” he said.
He sees much of that success owed to universities like Acadia, and also St. Francis Xavier, who bring national and international events to rural communities and bring opportunities and inspiration to local athletes and clubs.
And now, with Acadia hosting nationals for women’s soccer in 2016, men’s basketball in 2017, women’s rugby in 2018, and men’s hockey slated in 2020, Kings County athletes have had ample opportunity to get involved with and witness next-level sports, said Dickie.
“For something like this to be in rural Nova Scotia, is outstanding for the entire province,” he said.