by David Weatherall
When Marge Thompson
last played for Concordia in 1994, her womens rugby team won the
provincial championship. Before that, she had won three Canadian College
Athletic Association provincial championships with John Abbott College
and enjoyed great success with her summer club in St. Anne de Bellevue.
Now 26, she is back at Concordia as assistant coach, working with head
coach Sheila Turner.
Thompson is also serving a three-year term as vice-president of the FRQ
(Fedération du Rugby au Québec). It wasnt until
a male put his hand up to volunteer for the position at the board meeting
that it clicked in me that it was important that a female hold that position,
As FRQ vice-president, she is responsible for the smooth operation of
the league, the officiating and any disciplinary actions that need to
be taken in order to maintain fair competition. She is excited about the
prospect of being in charge of the development of womens rugby in
Quebec, and says the future is bright for current and aspiring female
The nationals are being held in Montreal next year and I hope to
have a role in organizing that, she said. Theres also
talk of an international tournament here next summer. The time is right
for womens rugby to expand in Quebec.
She made an important point about the development of young players in
Quebec: There isnt any.
Out west, theyre putting rugby balls in the hands of five-
or six-year-olds, she said. The parents and everyone involved
are all dedicated to the program there.
Id like to see that start here, maybe not with five- or six-year-olds
just yet, but I would like to see more high school teams, so that we can
start to develop players at a younger age. Its the same situation
wherever you coach. Its much easier to teach when youre not
struggling for numbers at practices.
She is enthusiastic about the potential. The FRQ have placed Patricia
Puyau in charge of junior development. She is energetic and dedicated
to promoting the sport. Shes also determined to bring rugby into
the French schools.
Thompsons own playing days are not over. The veteran of five Quebec
provincial teams was forced out of the Canada Cup this year by an injury.
As luck would have it, it was the first year Quebec took home the national
championship, knocking off nemesis Ontario in the semi-final to earn a
berth in the final, where they beat British Columbia.
Quebec wasnt even going to send a team in 1996 the
program had pretty much fallen apart so we had to fundraise to
get the cash together. We eventually managed to get the money, went off
to Calgary and finished fifth. Quebec has basically developed that same
team as their core, and this year they won.
Thompson would have loved to be part of that winning team, but for now,
the Stingers require her full attention, as they prepare to duke it out
for the league championship.
Four national champs
on the Stingers women's rugby team
It should come as no surprise
that the Concordia womens rugby team is off to a fast start this
season. With four national champs contributing to their line-up, they
should be hard to beat.
Stinger coach Sheila Turner and players Sommer Christie, Candace Patterson
and Joanne Auger all suited up for Quebec at the national championships,
held in Vancouver at the end of August. Quebec won the championship, upsetting
British Columbia 27-10 in the final.
It was a great experience for all the girls, Turner said.
Were getting more media exposure now, as well.
Patterson said her first experience at the nationals has helped her game.
I was surrounded by mountains and all these great players,
she said with a laugh. She played for Macdonald High School and John Abbott
College before joining the Stingers, and said the recognition is building
for the Stingers and the sport in general.
Its nice to see, because it was a male-dominated sport at
first, she said. Now, people are being turned on to womens
- John Austen