Local rugby player enjoys national circuit

Red Deer’s Paige Farries is a great example of the old axiom – if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

The 19-year-old graduate from Hunting Hills Highs School took a shot at making the provincial rugby team after graduating and didn’t even make the non-traveling reserves.

Fast forward a year later and she’s seeing the world as a part of the National Senior Women’s team which recently competed in the Women’s Sevens World Series.

“I thought that it was pretty unlikely that a person who can’t make their provincial team could make a national squad, so I temporarily abandoned my dream of ever representing my country,” Farries said. “Until the University of Alberta Rugby coaches encouraged me to go for the Canada U20 team and when I made that team it catapulted me into the national stream and it has only been up since then.”

Farries was with the team as the “7” position player, similar to the wing position in classical rugby terms, that traveled to Atlanta and then to Brazil.

She said she was elated when she received word of her inclusion on the team, something she had been actively trying to accomplish.

“For it to be the new legs and the first tours of 2014 I thought it would be a great way to start the year on a good foot and keep the momentum flowing to the following tours.”

Farries says she needs to work on her tackling but her real strength is the speed she brings to the game she refers to as the ‘jack of all trades’ sport.

“You need to be strong, fast, agile, flexible, skilled with both your hands and feet, aerobically fit and brave enough to tackle without equipment at top speed to succeed at rugby,” she said. “There is not anything about rugby I don’t find enjoyable.”

Farries’ timing of getting into the elite aspect of rugby could be perfect as she figures the sport has the potential to become Canada’s top summer Olympic sport.

“The success of rugby in Canada relies on a lot of factors,” said Farries. “Early introduction to the sport coupled with early opportunities would jump start the sport for Canadians.”

So with a summer Olympic games scheduled in a couple of years, Farries has time to make the stars align for her and who knows what will come of it.

“Atlanta and Brazil have completely motivated me to get back to training and try to be the best rugby player I can be.”