The reigning champion StFX X-Women look to make history when the U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Championship Presented by the University of Ottawa opens in the nation’s capital later this week.
The X-Women, who have won the national title every other year since 2010, are eyeing their seventh U SPORTS banner to become the most decorated women’s rugby program in the nation.
Full draw results, a championship schedule and team-by-team previews are available below.
The 2019 U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Championship Presented by the University of Ottawa, kicks off on Wednesday at Matt Anthony Field and concludes next Sunday with the gold-medal game at 3:30 p.m. ET / 12:30 p.m. PT. Livestreaming is available on USPORTS.LIVE.
|Team||Playoff Finish||Records (Regular Season / Playoffs)||Last / Total Titles||Offence (PTS/Game)||Defence (PTS Allowed/Game)|
|StFX||AUS Champions||6-0 / 2-0||2018 / 6||60.5||7.2|
|Acadia||AUS Finalists||4-2 / 1-1||Never||44.3||21.5|
|Ottawa||RSEQ Champions / Host||3-2-1 / 2-0||2017 / 1||29.3||19.0|
|Laval||RSEQ Finalists||6-0 / 1-1||Never||40.2||4.3|
|Queen’s||OUA Champions||4-0 / 2-0||Never||92.8||6.5|
|Guelph||OUA Finalists||3-1 / 1-1||2011 / 2||60.0||17.8|
|UBC||CW Champions||3-2 / 2-0||Never||38.4||17.0|
|Calgary||CW Finalists||5-1 / 1-1||Never||21.0||13.0|
|StFX||Sam Lake, 55||Sam Lake, 11||Danielle Franada, 14|
|Acadia||Annie Kennedy, 40||Tori Hogan, 6||Annie Kennedy, 10|
|Laval||Anne-Charlotte Beaulieu, 71||Anaïs Gilbert, 5||Anne-Charlotte Beaulieu, 28|
|Ottawa||Michaela Haley, 55||Michaela Haley, 11||Claire Gallagher, 13|
|Queen’s||Sophie de Goede, 76||Taylor Black, 9||Sophie de Goede, 26|
|Guelph||Talia Hoffman, 50||Talia Hoffman, 10||Jamine Ing, 12|
|UBC||Shoshanah Seumanutafa, 57||Shoshanah Seumanutafa, 7||Shoshanah Seumanutafa, 11|
|Calgary||Julia Omokhuale, 15||Julia Omokhuale, 3||Isla Shill / Pat Lively, 4|
The StFX X-Women return to the national championship for the 22nd consecutive season. AUS Coach of the Year Mike Cavanagh guided the defending U SPORTS national champions to an undefeated 6-0 record atop the AUS conference. Ranked No. 3 nationally, the X-Women led the AUS in points scored (363), tries (61), conversions (29), and allowed the fewest points scored against (43).
The X-Women were led this season by five AUS all-stars, including fifth year veteran prop Sam Lake who led the conference in scoring with 55 points, lock Sarah McCarron, flanker Alex Hamilton, rookie scrum half Maddie Ross and center Sarah Hoerig. Fly half Danielle Franada led the AUS in conversions (14) and was fourth overall in scoring (38), while No. 8 Anna Horner, center Sammy Nadeau and fly half Hannah Ellis were also key contributors to the starting line-up this season.
The Gaels put together their best season in program history in 2019, finishing undefeated on the OUA season and sweeping the playoffs to win their second OUA Championship in team history.
The Gaels dominated their opponents from start to finish starting with a pair of 100-plus point wins at home on Nixon Field, beating Western 135-0 and McMaster 100-0, while also upsetting the defending OUA Champion Guelph Gryphons with a key 54-19 victory. This gave the Gaels an opening-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the OUA playoffs.
A 74-3 win over Brock in the semifinal, set up a rematch of the 2018 affair, but this time the Gaels held the advantage hosting the provincial final in Kingston during Queen’s University’s homecoming weekend. A strong Tricolour crowd cheered the Gaels on to an OUA championship as they took care of Guelph with a 46-17 victory.
Sophie de Goede was once again named the OUA MVP, while head coach Dan Valley was the conference Coach of the Year and Lizzy Gibson was honoured as the Rookie of the Year.
RSEQ Champions / Host
With their place in the championship guaranteed, the Ottawa Gee-Gees used a new divisional structure in the RSEQ to prepare them for the national championship. A tough schedule and a young roster had them continually building throughout the year. A difficult tie at Sherbrooke to open the season, followed by a loss to Laval at home left them in need of response. The Gee-Gees defeated rival Carleton and Sherbrooke to the tune of 100-22 combined score. Travelling to Quebec City, the Gee-Gees lost to the Rouge et Or once more, but closed the season and kicked off the playoffs strongly building momentum into the championship on home turf.
The two most essential players for the Gee-Gees this season have been fifth-year lock Michaela Haley and first-year No. 8 Madison Grant. Haley amassed an outstanding 11 tries in six games, earning herself RSEQ All-Star honours for the second consecutive season. Grant, a rookie phenom, made her impact felt immediately for the Gee-Gees scoring seven tries en route to being named RSEQ Rookie of the Year. On the wing, Alexandra Ondo was once again a playmaking presence for the Gee-Gees, with the two-time All-Canadian earning RSEQ All-Star honours for a third consecutive season.
Canada West Player of the Year Shoshanah Seumanutafa and Coach of the Year Dean Murten led the UBC Thunderbirds to a 3-2 regular season record. UBC lost its first two contests of 2019, before finishing with three consecutive victories, over Lethbridge, Alberta, and Victoria.
With 192 points in five matches, the team had the best offensive output in the Canada West conference.
Centre Seumanutafa has been incredible in her third season, recording 57 total points on seven tries and 11 converts in just five contests – to lead the conference in all three categories.
Rookie Hunter Czeppel was impressive in her university debut. She posted six tries and 30 points, good for second and third in CW.
Laval Rouge et Or
The Laval Rouge et Or had one of the best seasons of their history in 2019, completing a perfect regular season for the first time since 2012. Of its six victories, coach Kévin Rouet’s squad had one of its most significant wins at the start of the season, snapping the 46-game undefeated streak of the Ottawa Gee-Gees – the six-time defending RSEQ champion. Laval beat Ottawa twice in the regular season, before falling to the Gee-Gees in the conference final.
The Rouge et Or’s success comes from a group of established veterans and high-quality recruits. Back row Fabiola Forteza was named the RSEQ's Player of the Year for the second time in her career.
The Dinos went 5-1 on the season, dropping their only match to Victoria and outscoring their opponents 126-78 en route to a first-place finish in Canada West. With eyes on a fourth straight CW title, conversions co-leader Isla Shill kicked a penalty goal in the dying seconds to lift the Dinos to a dramatic 8-7 win over host Lethbridge in the semifinals. Calgary’s reign on top would come to an end though, after being upset by UBC 26-12 in the championship match thanks to 21 unanswered points by the Thunderbirds for their first-ever CW title and first national championhip appearance since 2006.
The Dinos were led by CW Rookie of the Year Julia Omokhuale, who had three tries and 15 points on the season, along with conference All-Stars Cassidy Jones, Kasselle Menin, Alyson MacDougall and Berlyn Seslja.
Despite losing several key veteran players from last year’s team including All-Canadians Gillian Bergsma, Alysha Corrigan and Maddy MacKenzie, the Axewomen rugby squad didn’t skip a beat this season, posting a 4-2 regular season record.
Two losses to defending U SPORTS Champion StFX were the only blemishes on the Axewomen’s record as they scored 266 points and allowed 129 points in six regular season games.
Leading the Axewomen in scoring this season was Annie Kennedy with four tries and 10 conversions, while teammate Tori Hogan posted a team-high six tries in six regular season games.
Finishing second in the AUS standings, the Axewomen hosted the AUS semifinals game against the UPEI Panthers. For the 10th year in a row, Acadia defeated the Panthers 52-20 to advance to the AUS championship game.
For the ninth time in 10 years, the Axewomen fell short in defeating the X-Women in the AUS championship.
For a fourth straight year, the Guelph Gryphons have qualified for the U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Championship after a silver medal finish in the OUA. The Gryphons, who entered the 2019 season as the three-time defending OUA champions, saw their run of conference banners come to an end following a loss to Queen’s in the OUA gold medal match. Now, the Gryphons turn their attention to nationals, where the team will look to take one step closer to the third national title in program history.
Last season, the Gryphons fell just short of claiming the U SPORTS banner, falling to the St. FX X-Women in the U SPORTS gold medal match. This year’s squad is led by three-time All Canadian Julia Schell, who will suit up for her final time as a Gryphon in Ottawa with the talented fly half now in her fifth and final season at Guelph.
Wednesday, Oct. 30 (Quarterfinals)
- StFX vs. Guelph, 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT
- UBC vs. Laval, 2 p.m. PT / 11 a.m. PT
- Ottawa vs. Calgary, 5 p.m. / 2 p.m. PT
- Queen's vs. Acadia, 7:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT
Thursday, Oct. 31
- All-Canadian Awards Gala, 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT
All games livestreamed at USPORTS.LIVE.
Full championship schedule HERE.
As the official Rugby Ball Supplier of U SPORTS, Gilbert Rugby Canada will provide match balls and other prizing to the 2019 U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Championship Presented by University of Ottawa from Oct. 30 - Nov. 3 at Matt Anthony Field.