Judging by the number of teams and their large and enthusiastic rosters, rugby is continuing to rebound after being dragged down by the pandemic.

Fifteen teams, the most every, participated in the May 16 Rocky View 7s divisional championship played at the Bow Valley High School on May 16. 

"It was a great day for us to all come together," says coordinator Brian Morgotch. "It was just fantastic. The weather was cooperative until now and everyone had a lot of fun out there."

"Other than a few injuries that slowed things down, it ran like clockwork," says Morgotch.  "We were almost right on time."

The divisionals weren't held last year and had been postponed once this this year due to poor weather. 

The CobraCats junior boys and girls both won their division while the senior boys lost a close final to the W. H. Croxford Cavaliers. The seniors girls banner was won by the Springbank Phoenix in a game that went into overtime against the Cavaliers.

jr girlsThe CobraCats junior girls won their division.

The CobraCats teams, formed of players fromboth Bow Valley and Cochrane High, typically play 15s, the full version of the sport, but enjoyed the opportunity to play 7s.

Olivia Harris, Livi Poulin and Avari Horvath, of the girl juniors say it's all about teamwork and having a strong community.

"I thought it was an amazing day," says Livi. "It was tough, it was three games in one day, and super difficult, but it's so worth it when everybody on the team is so close. You really get to know who all the girls are."

Although they come from rival schools, the team has been able to create a melting pot of talent.

"We are very big rival teams, and this is the one sport that we play together," says Olivia, with the other two girls nodding in agreement. "It just shows how that competitiveness can be set aside so we can all pull together and play as one."

CobraCatsThe CobraCats junior boys won their division.

Avid rugby player Ben Finlay Snowden, a grade 10 student on the junior boys, says the boys typically play 15s but enjoyed how so many teams came out to the divisionals.

"I definitely prefer 15s. There's a lot more hitting and tackling and stuff, but I still love 7s because you have to run across the entire field."

Hayden Byrne, fo the Cavaliers senior boys team, enjoyed every minute of the tournament.

He says the high school has been gradually building its 15s rugby team.

"We've been working since grade 9 to build up our numbers," he says. " It has been tough getting to this point, but now we're starting to grow."

Corey Derkatch, who was assisting with the Chestermere Lakers teams, says the future looks promising for rugby at their high school.

"Prior to COVID we were really strong, and everybody's been struggling to get it back up, but it is slowly building, It's the first time since COVID that we've had a guys' teams, so it's nice that we're getting numbers now."

CobrasCats boys coach Karl Bauer says their main focus is competing in the 15s league and have already declared to compete in the tier one playoffs. He says it's difficult to switch from one to the other, but appreciates the division's 7s tournament nonetheless, and the conditioning it provides his players.

"Having this little divisional tournament back is really nice to actually see all of the closer schools because a lot of them we don't always get a chance to play. Some of them are just seven, some of them are just 15. We mostly do 15s, so they may not have quite as high a skill level."

Typically, they only play in the Clearwater 7s tournament in Calgary.

The CobraCats have already declared for division one playoffs.

Big Sky Rugby League play resumes for both CobraCats teams tomorrow against the Foothills Composite Falcons.