Dodge and Espagnol two U of O athletes eager to take the field for their season openers on Sept. 11
After much uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Fall season will offer Gee-Gees rugby athletes and fans something to look forward to: the Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) season of competition.
Both the men’s and women’s teams will be welcoming the Sherbrooke Vert et Or to Matt Anthony field on Sept. 11 to kick off the 2021 season. This not only marks the first game of the season, but the first since 2019.
The regular season will feature a six game schedule stretching to the middle of October.
The well-decorated University of Ottawa women’s rugby team has spent the past two years trying to stay ready, and has recently accelerated its training even further in light of the imminent season.
The team hopes to put on a show for the hometown faithful in its season opener.
“This year’s team is quite experienced, we have a lot of older players, and we have a lot of depth within our team. We have a lot of different people that are quite versatile in the positions they’re playing,” said Anna Dodge, a member of the team’s leadership group, in an interview with the Fulcrum.
After so much time without playing, the men’s team is also filled with energy and intensity as they approach the season.
Theo Espagnol, a fourth-year Gee-Gee from France, noted his team’s eagerness to hit the field.
“We’re ready, mentally and physically, to just dominate the game and come out making a statement to all the other teams,” Espagnol said in an interview. “We want to set the tone, we want to set the pace.”
Something to expect from the Gee-Gees men’s rugby team this year is passion.
“We got a bunch of guys who really love this game, and really love playing for the Gee-Gees and for you, Ottawa, and for each other,” said Espagnol.
The athletes are looking forward to more than just playing the game: they are also excited to have people back in the stands and to dawn the Garnet and Grey in front of Gee-Gees fans.
“We’re gonna be playing some pretty exciting rugby,” Dodge said. “Whether people understand the sport or not, I think it’s gonna be really exciting for fans.”