Following a draw with Sherbrooke to open the season, the Gee-Gees women's rugby team is looking to return to the win column in their home opener against Laval on Saturday afternoon. Kick-off is slated for 1 p.m. at Matt Anthony Field.
Ottawa and Laval have been frequent opponents in recent seasons, most recently clashing in the bronze medal game at the 2018 U SPORTS National Championship.
"Playing Laval is arguably the biggest game of the year, every year," explained head coach Jen Boyd. "Last year we played them three times, in-season, the RSEQ Finals, and then for a medal at nationals, so we have a long history with them it seems over the past few years."
Boyd expects the Rouge et Or will provide a stiff challenge for the Gee-Gees. A trio of national team calibre players are returning to Laval's line-up after missing last season with injury, while the majority of last year's team is also back for another season.
Laval is also one of the better teams in the league when it comes to quickly moving the ball around the field.
"You also can't control what the other teams decide to change," Boyd said. "Control the controllables. For us that's doing what we do best, and that's out defence. That's been our focus all week."
In addition to a core of returning veterans, the incoming class of rookies has stood out through the early moments of the season, and will look to make a big impact in their home debuts.
"They've been put in some pretty pivotal positions very early, and they've outdone themselves for sure," Boyd added. "There's some really great kids here, some haven't had an opportunity yet to play with the older girls, but they will. Some have really stood out, so I'm very, very pleased."