Princeton women travel to Hong Kong before CRC
New Jersey-based university’s women’s club travels internationally for spring break
Philadelphia, Penn. — April 26, 2016 —The Princeton University Women’s Rugby Football Club is having a historic season: taking their first spring break trip to Asia. This past March the team traveled to Hong Kong where they played the National Hong Kong 7s Team, hiked in the Hong Kong Country Park and much more.
“According to everyone on the rugby endowment board and all of the alumni I’ve spoken to, Hong Kong was probably the most ambitious tour that has been done to date- but all of the players came back really thinking it was worth it. So we try to make sure that everyone from our youngest rookies to our senior players have a chance to go if they wanted to do,” said Princeton’s Assistant Coach, Lauren Rhode. “They played professional athletes out there who are training to try and make the Olympics this summer- so it was really good competition.”
The team always strides to participate in high level competition during spring break and go abroad when possible; in the past three years the team went to Trinidad and Tobago, San Francisco and San Diego. Often times the location is influenced by the team’s budget, flight prices and where competitive rugby tournaments are being held that coincide with the university’s schedule. Usually the team begins planning for a spring break trip in early August or mid-September, however this one required extensive insight.
The initial idea for the 2016 trip came from a player who lives in Hong Kong and whose parents very keen on the idea. After speaking to her teammates about the potential trip, the Princeton women agreed to look into it and approached the class board as well as alumni for donations. Another large push came from the team’s Coaching Consultant, Emil Signes a former USA Rugby National Team coach, who had some very strong contacts at the Hong Kong Rugby Union.
With his help Princeton was able to make contact with the National Team to play them and obtain access to their facilities, the Hong Kong Sports Institute. The women’s club was even given a tour by Hong Kong’s Head Coach, Anna Richards, a member of the World Rugby Hall of Fame.
“It was quite some competition, I can tell you that. It was kind of the beginning of our season, so it was the perfect way to launch into our spring 7s season,” said Princeton’s club President, Gabe Armstrong-Scott. “The facility they had there was absolutely incredible. It was such an eye opening experience- we got to see a lot of Hong Kong too.”
Aside from the athletic component of the trip, the club made sure to allow students to get a sense of the local culture. This included having students attend a leadership panel-featuring panel of people who lived in Hong Kong and had Princeton ties.
Since returning the team has played a variety of matches including hosting the Ivy 7s Tournament this past weekend. Unfortunately a couple of players suffered some injuries and Princeton was unable to defend their title as Ivy League champions; the Tigers came in third place behind Brown University and Harvard University.
This coming weekend they will be holding their 15s Senior Game, but are looking forward to the end of the season:
“We’re very excited about playing in the CRC. We fought hard at the U.S. Nationals last year; we came in third place after being seeded fifteenth out of sixteen teams, so that was very exciting. We have much the same team this year – it was a very young team last year. We’ve been building on our experience from Nationals last year and we’re really looking forward to seeing what we can do against the high caliber teams at the CRC,” said President Armstrong-Scott.
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