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Island rugby players to compete in first-ever women's U20 tournament in Wales

The Canadian team is set to play their first game on July 14 against the United States
Emma Grootendorst (left) and Maddy Thran, both hailing from Courtenay, are set to compete in the first-ever Women’s U20 Transatlantic Quad Series in Wales, starting on July 14.

Canada’s U20 Women’s Rugby Team will play England, Wales and the U.S.A. this July in Cardiff for the first-ever Women’s U20 Transatlantic Quad Series. 

Led by head coach Dean Murten, an expanded squad of 32 players will train in Ontario, from July 3 to 9 before the selected cohort of 30 players travels to Wales. 

Among those players are Emma Grootensdort and Maddy Thran, both hailing from Courtenay. 

Having played rugby since their early teens and continued through high school to their university teams, these two young women consider this opportunity to compete on the national stage the pinnacle of their early careers in the sport.

“I'm very excited,” said Grootendorst who graduated from Isfeld in 2019. “I know it's gonna be definitely a challenge because we're playing against England and Wales who are coming out of their Six Nations Championship which is a very competitive tournament in Europe. I'm really excited to push myself to a higher level than I've ever played.”

“It's always been like a dream of mine to play overseas and travel to play the sport I love and be with my friends. It’s surreal,” added Thran who graduated from G.P. Vanier. “It’s gonna be a good challenge and the level of rugby is gonna be the highest than I've ever played before but I know that it'll help me become a better player so I am ready to give my all and do the best.”

Canada will open against the United States on July 14 at 9:30 a.m. PT at Cardiff Metropolitan University before meeting England on July 19 at 9:30 a.m. PT and hosts Wales on July 24 at 11:30 a.m. PT, both at Cardiff Arms Park.

“We are greatly looking forward to working with this group of players as they continue their development along the high-performance pathway,” said Murten. 

Eager to don the maple leaf jersey, the two young women feel honoured to represent their country.

“I'm really proud that I get to kind of represent my country,” said Thran. “It has been a dream of mine to put on the Canadian jersey and (I just want to) show people that the hard work really does pay off.”

“I feel really excited and definitely proud,” added Grootendorst. “It’s amazing that we're able to have this opportunity and it's just such a rewarding feeling as well as being super inspiring.”

Selection of the squad was informed by player identification conducted at the U19 Canadian Rugby Championships, nominations through U SPORT, and previous involvement along the high-performance pathway.

Further information on how to follow Canada’s U20 Women’s Rugby at The competing team will be announced shortly.