Mon | Nov 12, 2018

Women's rugby on the rise

Published:Wednesday | January 17, 2018 | 12:00 AMAkino Ming/Gleaner Writer
Mona Titans' Samara Wilson (top) is taken down by St Catherine Lioness player Rochelle Smith during their Jamaica Rugby Football Union tournament held at the G.C. Foster College last Saturday.
Jamaica Rugby Football Union chairman Jerry Benzwick.

President of the Jamaica Rugby Union, Jerry Benzwick, is looking to popularise all formats of his sport, including women's rugby, now that he is riding the crest of a wave after qualifying for the World Cup Sevens tournament slated for July this year.

Along with their male counterparts, several female rugby players took part in a sevens tournament at G.C. Foster College this past weekend.

Benswick said the purpose of the tournament was just to get the girls playing more often.

"The objective is to get them to play more sevens. We are basically getting ready to play sevens by playing more sevens," Benzwick said. "We don't have a lot of competition for our women to play in terms of how many teams [female rugby clubs]. We only have three fully active teams. At the moment, we are just growing the sports for the women."

Though it may seems too ambitious, Benzwick said that his aim is to make women's rugby the biggest female sport in Jamaica.

He said he plans to achieve that by introducing the sport at the intercollegiate level.




"First thing that we doing is intercollegiate rugby, and we want to start with the women," Benzwick said. "We already have a strong set of girls at G.C. Foster, we have interest from Moneague Teacher's College, and we are trying our best to get the other colleges involved. We also have a few girls at the University of Technology (UTech) who are interested. I am going to bring it to the school (UTech)."

Benzwick said that the Jamaica Intercollegiate Sports Association, which governs collegiate sporting activities in Jamaica, has agreed to have male and female rugby among the sports they offer.

"We met with Intercol and they would love to have women's rugby and men's rugby because it is an Olympic sport right now," Benzwick said.

Rugby sevens was first introduced as an Olympic sport at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.