While the COVID-19 pandemic has derailed many plans this year, alumna Emma Taylor (2009-10) has found a way to continue to pursue her athletic endeavours despite the current climate. Taylor, who is our most decorated female rugby player, is currently undergoing a 2-week quarantine in London, England after she signed with the English Premiership team Saracens. The Saracens play in the Allainz Premier 15s league which is the top tier of English domestic rugby and is, arguably, one of the best leagues in the northern hemisphere. Despite being a part of Rugby Canada’s Senior Women’s team in the past, the lack of opportunity in North America prompted the move.
“With all the World Rugby events being cancelled this summer, I missed an opportunity to take part in our Canadian Top 40 camp as well as other opportunities in New Zealand. I just haven’t gotten any decent game time in since November 2019, so if I want to be selected for the World Cup in September 2021, I didn’t think an 18-month rugby hiatus would really cut it,” commented Taylor. She previously won a U-Sport National Championship at StFX, played internationally in Ireland as well as being a member of the Canadian Senior Women’s Team. Taylor was able to connect with the London-based team through one of her Rugby Canada coaches, and she is excited for the opportunity to play against some of the best players in the world. “The league is extremely competitive since it combines the best players from England, Scotland, Ireland among others.” Emma’s signing with the Saracens made headlines on both sides of the Atlantic with media coverage from both America’s Rugby News
and the BBC
While she has been fortunate to have this opportunity, COVID-19 is still very much a consideration as she had to go through multiple isolation periods between securing visas and travelling abroad. Although frustrating at times, Emma insisted that “at the end of the day, the safety of my friends, family, teammates and community is the most important thing.” Fortunately for Emma, the league in which she will be playing is exempt from the recent lockdown imposed by British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
When asked to reflect on her younger years and send a message to her younger self, Emma offered the following: “I wish I could’ve told high school Emma Taylor, or anyone in high school for that matter, to give yourself the love and self care that you need. Life can be mentally draining and there are countless attempts made by society to make people feel like we should be superhuman. Just be yourself, do you best with what you have, and always show gratitude when you have the chance.”
Emma is someone all our current and future athletes can look up to, and we are excited to follow her progress in England.
Junior English and Technology Teacher
Girls Rugby and Basketball Coach