Balmy Beach Rugby Club’s junior program helping to keep teenage girls involved in team sports

A Balmy Beach player, yellow sweater, runs with the ball during a game against Mississauga recently. Photo by Jessica Shackleton.


It was an exciting evening of rugby as the Balmy Beach Rugby Club’s new U16 girls team held its home opener versus the Mississauga Blues recently at Tubs & Gee Gage Rugby Field.

Mississauga won the game 19-15, and it was an entertaining match for the spectators who came out the field on Lower Coxwell Avenue on the evening of Thursday, June 29.

For many of the Balmy Beach girls playing that night, this was their first real introduction to a full-contact game.

The Balmy Beach Rugby Rugby Club is known for its men’s and women’s teams, and also hosts a junior rugby program.

“(We) look for players, parents, and supporters who are committed to making a positive contribution in an environment that fosters mutual respect, sportsmanship, and a lasting love of the game,” the Balmy Beach Rugby Club’s website said.

The new U16 team has more than 50 girls from local high schools signed up. A total of 15 players are on the field at a time during a game. They are playing the sport on a full-sized pitch and focusing on learning correct rugby techniques.

Tanis Hewitt has been a member of the Balmy Beach Rugby Club for more than 10 years and helped start the girls teams this year.

She and other volunteers are dedicated to growing the participation of girls in rugby.

“I wanted there to be a place to play,” said Hewitt.

A Balmy Beach player, yellow sweater, is chased by a Mississauga player during U16 girls action on June 29. Photo by Jessica Shackleton.

The Balmy Beach junior program has strong participation numbers of both girls and boys, but this is the first time there has been enough players to filed both U14 and U16 girls’ teams.

“This is around the age where [girls] start dropping out of sports. Here they can learn about leadership, make friends, and have a social network,” said Hewitt.

According to a 2020 report by Canadian Women & Sport, 33 per cent of adolescent girls quit organized sports due to lack of enjoyment and external pressures.

Hewitt is striving to keep girls in that age group involved in sports and is encouraging them to continue playing as it builds confidence along with providing positive experiences.

“That’s all I want – for them to feel confident on the inside,” she said.

Balmy Beach players, yellow sweaters, pass the ball during girls U16 rugby action against Mississauga on June 29. Photo by Jessica Shackleton.


Hewitt also thanked the Balmy Beach Rugby Club for its actions to help grow the sport’s popularity among younger female players. She said she was pleased by the large number of fans who came out for the opening game on June 29 at the club’s home pitch.

“Local support is so crucial when starting new programs like this,” she said.

The next game for the Balmy Beach Rugby Club’s U16 girls team is Thursday, July 13, at 7 p.m. at SATEC W.A. Porter Collegiate, 40 Fairfax Cres., in southwest Scarborough. The game will be against the Aurora Barbarians.

For more information on the Balmy Beach Rugby Club, please go to

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