Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, 60 young athletes of the Bow Valley Rugby Club (BVRC)  travelled to Vancouver Island to continue their development.

It's not the first time the thriving rugby club has sent boys to there, but it did mark the first trip by their flourishing girls' program.

Competition and training there is of a high standard, says Rob Harris, BVRC youth programming vice-president, especially with their ability to continue to play outdoors during the winter.

The BVRC contingent stayed at the Shawnigan Lake School, known for its rugby pedigree. It's ideally situated close to the national rugby training centre and headquarters.

While there, the players were trained by some of the top coaches in Canada. In addition, the girls got to watch a training session of Canada women's team, ranked third in the world.

"We were very pleased," says Harris."The feedback we've been getting from the players, coaches, and parents has been fantastic about the overall experience, not just the rugby.

"The rugby was a success, as well. We had some fantastic results, and some very credible performances against some stronger teams."

The U15 girls team won all three of their games, and was described by the coaches as one of the strongest teams they'd seen.

"It was really positive for all 60 young people who went. It was a fantastic life experience for them."

Like all sports, the pandemic has impacted rugby for the short-term.

"One of the lessons of rugby is resilience, so we have to be resilient ourselves, and take a note from our own playbook. We'll bounce back,"

A week prior to the closure of local schools, the high school teams formed by players from Bow Valley and Cochrane High, were gearing up for their season.

"We had 48 girls show up for our high school initiation program and that was almost immediately suspended, so we were very excited about the prospects of a high school season."

Many BVRC players have advanced to regional and province teams, like the Mavericks and Wolfpack.

"We're routinely getting players into those teams, so we're really thrilled about that, and thrilled for the athletes."

"I think we're blessed with great athletes, enthusiasts, and coaches."