Semiahmoo alum to lead B.C. women’s rugby team

Julia Sugawara will captain Team BC at National Women’s League finals at UBC

Semiahmoo Secondary alum Julia Sugawara will captain Team BC’s senior women’s rugby team at the National Women’s League finals later this month.

Sugawara, a veteran of the provincial squad, and her teammates will compete in the premier division of the event, alongside teams from Alberta, Quebec, and the defending champions from Ontario.

The women’s rugby tournament is set for June 27-30 at the University of B.C.’s Wolfsen Fields.

Sugawara, who plays for the Burnaby Lake Rugby Club, has plenty of experience on the pitch, having represented Canada at the rugby World Cup in May. She also led Burnaby to a Gordon Harris Memorial Cup provincial title earlier the season.

Sugawara won’t be the only player on the pitch with ties to the Peninsula, as Bayside’s Tanya Leigh is also on the Team BC roster.

Team BC will open the tournament June 27 with a game against the 2011 champions from Alberta, and the following day will face off against Quebec, followed by a tilt with Ontario June 30.

“We have a good mix of experienced players as well as some young, skillful talent,” said Team BC coach Pat Fleck.

“Every player on the field will need to step up and perform for us to be successful.”

The National Women’s League finals will also feature an under-20 tournament, and Team BC’s entry into that event also features local talent.

Bayside’s Rachel Craig and Meghan Wellis will both suit up for the provincial U20 team.

In a release, under-20 coach Steph Murphy called Wellis and Craig “backs who are dynamic and speedy but… strong at the contact point.”

“We will look to them to create opportunities for turnovers,” she added.

For more on the event, visit www.nwlrugby.com