Samantha Gibbs

North West Wolves rugby squad readies for BC Summer Games

The North West girls rugby team, guided by former Kiwi rugby player, Ben Harris, head to the BC Summer Games emphasizing structure.

The BC Summer Games are just around the corner and local rugby players are looking forward to the challenge.

Scratching out the x’s and o’s for the Wolves, the North West zone girls team is coached by Ben Harris, a former rugby player from New Zealand.

Harris, a civil technologist who arrived in Smithers just three  months ago to take a position with Opus DaytonKnight, is no stranger to rugby.

“I’ve had a rugby ball in my hands since I was born and playing since I was four,” Harris said.

Harris distinguished himself on the rugby pitch, representing his province, Hawke’s Bay, at the national level up to the U20 level when his career was cut short by a knee injury.

Not bad considering New Zealand is a gold mine of rugby talent with every child dreaming of playing for the national All Blacks squad.

“It forced me to think about coaching,” Harris said of the injury that ended his high-performance career.

Harris is guiding a team comprised of players from Smithers and Houston, players that have faced each other a few times, but have never played together.

That, Harris said, poses an important challenge.

“These girls have played against each other, but they don’t know each other on the field.

“I’m trying to get them into a team environment.”

To get the girls to learn about each other on the field, Harris has designed practice drills to allow the girls from Houston and Smithers to play together and learn the on-field habits of their teammates.

With little time to prepare, another challenge Harris faces as a coach, is getting his players to put into effect what they learned in practice and stepping up their game to match the higher level of play he expects to see at the BC Summer Games.

“Hopefully everything will click and the girls will step up,” Harris said.

“Hopefuly we stick to our plan and hopefully we’ll be a well-structured side.

“I think we’ve got a great team, there’s a lot of talent here.”

One of the players Harris will be counting on is Samantha Gibbs.

Gibbs, 14, has played rugby for two seasons now, admitted she enjoyed the competition and physical play of rugby.

“I like the adrenalin rush, it’s fun,” she said.

Gibbs also said she appreciated rugby because it could be played by girls of different statures.

“It’s for everybody, it doesn’t matter what your body type is,” she said.

“Anybody can play.”

When asked what the biggest challenge would be, Gibbs alluded to the structure coach Harris alluded to.

“Knowing what to do when you’re caught up in everything,” she said.

Although the trip to Surrey marks her first time at a BC Games competition, Gibbs said she isn’t nervous, but rather excited about the opportunity to spend four days playing rugby.

“I’m stoked,” she said.

Joining Gibbs are Cassie Ayers, Ashley Cocklin, Hanae Kerr and Chasity Rozsas, as well as supervisor Cobus Jonker.

Although the team is young and has little time to prepare, Harris was optimistic about the outcome of the games.

“Win,” Harris said.

The BC Summer Games are set for July 19 – 22.

 

 

Just Posted

VIDEOS and PHOTOS: 20th anniversary of the Delgamuukw/Gisday’wa court decision celebrated

Chiefs and elders from different houses spoke at the feast discussing their memories of the case.

No charges against Smithers RCMP officer for in-custody death

The Independent Investigations Office conducted an investigation into the actions of the officer.

VIDEO: Researchers rely on drones to survey aftermath of B.C. wildfires

UBC researchers are using aerial drones to study the historic 2017 wildfires in the province

Pair of Bulkley Valley Otters named top swimmers

Zach Durnin was bronze medalist in 10 and under. Fergus Hobson, 16, took bronze in the senior boys.

Bulkley Valley energy company receives government grant

The company based near Smithers received a grant for a thermal energy storage system.

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

AHUS patient Shantee Anaquod is home for Christmas

Less than a month after receiving first dose of $750K drug, 23 year old healthy enough to go home

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

This is second death linked to the Thomas fire, northwest of Los Angeles

Moose calves rescued in northern B.C. are ‘golden nuggets:’ researcher

Calves discovered near Prince George in late May. Mother had been killed by a car

Most Read