Rugby prop’s quick climb takes another step up

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Veronica Harrigan didn’t start playing rugby until her Grade 9 year at Medway high school.

But it didn’t take her long to get the game and play it at the highest level.

The 20-year-old Lucan native appears on a straight path to the Canadian senior women’s team, but in the meantime she’s making some good stops along the way.

Harrigan was a member of the Ontario senior team that won the national championship in Quebec recently.

Her next stop begins Aug. 3 when she participates with the national U20 team in a two-game series against the United States in Ottawa.

Harrigan, a third-year criminology student at King’s University College, is going into her third year at Western. One of her teammates, Nikki Case, was a teammate on the provincial team. Western alumnus Ashley Snider was also a teammate.

Harrigan showed quickly what she was capable of achieving.

After her first year of playing she was selected to the southwest regional 7s for the Ontario Summer Games. In Grade 10 she made the Ontario 7s U18.

“Everything took off from there,” Harrigan said.

Harrigan’s ability to adjust has helped her on the road to her goal of playing for the women’s senior national team. When Harrigan first started playing the sport she was a back, accustomed to carrying the ball and running on the outside. She was recruited as a back for the Western Mustangs.

“In high school I was a back and was either No. 10 or No. 12,” she said. “When I was recruited for Western I came in as a back and they said ‘I think we’re going to put you as a forward on the front row,’ which is two total different positions.”

She was moved to the loosehead prop position.

Props compete in mainly close contact situations like scrums, rucks, mauls and lineouts. It’s a lot more physical position.

“I love it,” she said. “It was a huge change but I’ve come to like it a lot. It’s totally different but it’s where I belong for sure.”

Harrigan’s ultimate goal is the senior national team. The pathway to that team is through the U20s.

“Hopefully I am on that pathway,” she said. “With the World Cup this summer in Ireland, that’s my goal to be on a World Cup team and play in the rugby World Cup.

“There are a lot of girls that are retiring after this World Cup. There will be spots available so hopefully I can work my way in and represent Canada at the next World Cup.”

Alton Howard of London Rugby also travelled to Truro, N.S., for the men’s Canadian rugby championship and captured a silver medal after a loss to British Columbia in the U19 final. Howard graduated from Beal recently and will attend Fanshawe College. 

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