Volume 92, Issue 3

Friday, May 29, 1998

big business


Team Canada starter tells tale of victory

Two weeks ago Western women's rugby coach Natasha Wesch returned from the Rugby World Cup in the Netherlands. Starting for Team Canada, she helped pull them to finish fourth, the highest finish in this nation's history.

Recently, Wesch sat down with sports editor Ian Ross to discuss her thoughts and highlights from the trip.

Q: This was your second time at a World Cup championship. What was the difference for you personally?

A: This was different and a lot more of a positive experience for me for a number of reasons. My mom flew out to see me and watch a couple of games which was really nice to have. When you're done a game and are physically and mentally exhausted, it's really nice to have someone there you can talk to and get a big hug from. Also, this time through I knew what I needed to do and I knew what the competition would be like.

Q: Team Canada was ranked eighth going into the tournament. Was the team expecting to do so well?

A: Yes. We were aiming to be in the top four which is what we did and we played some of the toughest teams there.

Q: Canada had trouble against clubs from England and Scotland. Are those teams more organized?

A: It is not that they are more organized. They have more funding and more resources available to them for their training and development of the game. I think now that we are in the top four and we are established contenders, more companies are going to be willing to give more and with that funding we will be able to do more. This will allow us to have more camps and meet more often.

Q: The team's size and funding was lower than most teams at the World Cup. Do you feel the team has a lot of obstacles to overcome to find success?

A: Yes we do. Apart from the ones that you mention, the team has not been together very long and haven't had much time to practice together. We had a training camp two weeks before we left in Vancouver and that was the first time the team had met since last July. So we had a lot of ground to cover as a team in a very short time.

Q: What aspect of the game did both the team and yourself learn from this experience that will be paid more attention to in the future?

A: I think we learned how naive we are in Canada about rugby. They always call us the "nice Canadians" because we play by the rules. Other teams are bigger and stronger and know how to get away with certain aspects of the game. Not that I think we should start playing dirty rugby but we need to be more aggressive and attract bigger people to the game.

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Copyright The Gazette 1998