The Girls High School All American (GHSAA) 7s team assembled for the second time in its existence, and with similar results to its inaugural outing, won the Vancouver Rugby Festival in commanding fashion. The age-grade stars went 5-0, outscored the competition 214-5, and ended their campaign with a 55-0 championship victory over the B.C. Elite.

The Canada fixture was also the first step in building toward the Europe 7s Championship in September. The event allowed GHSAA 7s coach Emilie Bydwell to introduce and develop the attack and defense principles that will be employed against the international field later this year.

“We concentrated on winning our own restarts, and by day two the athletes began doing that consistently, which was really exciting,” Bydwell reported. “On defense we set turnover goals and prided ourselves on winning back possession, which made things really difficult on our opposition.”

Montana’s Julie Riekena played a big role in the possession game. She’s one of several new, young pool players – four of which are sophomores – and gained a ton of confidence in the event.

“She thrived in her role as our kickoff winner,” Bydwell praised. “Whenever there was a kickoff she was near, she was able to either turn it over or make a contact that we could contest. She was also very effective in open play with her hard lines and support play.”

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