Interview with Cougars women’s rugby coaches

For a team this on fire, it’s never too cold for shorts. Alison Fisher

Foster and Quangtakoune talk gameplay, current endeavours, and what makes it all feel worth it

The University of Regina Rugby team has just started their season recently playing against the Bobcats, and played against Brandon this past weekend. I wanted to teach you about the game and the coaches that teach the Cougars team, Juliana Foster and Soutchai Quangtakoune.

For the readers that may not know how the game of rugby works, can you please describe the game for our readers?

Foster states “Rugby union is a team sport with 15 players a side. The object of the game is to move the ball forward by either running forward and passing backward or kicking the ball down the field to get to your opponents in goal area to score a ‘try.’ The Try must be scored by putting downward pressure on the ball in the in-goal area. A try is worth 5 points and the conversion is worth 2 points.”

There are two ways you can play Rugby: one is known as playing 7’s and another is playing 15’s. Can you explain the main differences between the games?

Quangtakoune and Foster together stated that “The difference between 7s and 15s is the number of players on the pitch and the amount of time in the game. 7s is a 7-minute half with 7 players and 15s is 40-minute halves with 15 players a side.”

How long have you been playing Rugby for and what is your favourite position and why?

Foster stated “I have been playing rugby for about 29 years.  My favourite position is 13, which is the outside centre. That is what you call a back. There are forwards and backs. The position of 13 is for the smaller faster player. It is a great position to score from.”

Quangtakoune stated states she has been playing since she was 15 years old. Her favourite position is “would have to be scrumhalf because you are everywhere on the pitch, being able to distribute the ball and watch what your teammates can do with it to score, and you are ultimately the decision maker. I like that…but my heart is always with the forwards.”

If there was one position that you think is a highlight/main component to the game, what would it be?

Foster states “I would say that the half backs are the main components. They are like the quarter backs. The scrumhalf (9) leads the forwards and the flyhalf (10) leads the backs.”

Quangtakoune states “Everyone on the pitch contributes to the game but if I had to choose (a highlight), it would be scrumhalf for the same reasons I mentioned above. They distribute the ball and make the decisions of who to give the ball to, forwards or backs. They are like the “quarterbacks” of the team.”

What previous teams have you played for that have stood out with your passion for Rugby?

Foster has played for many teams. “I started with the Breakers rugby club in Regina. I have played for Saskatchewan at many provincial tournaments, and I had played for Canada for 10 years. I now play (sort of) for the team I coach the Rage Rugby Team.”

The team that stood out most to Quangtakoune was “honestly, probably the first time I stepped on the pitch at practice with the Breakers as a naïve teenager looking for something totally different than what I was used to playing.”

What is a highlight that you have reached with any team while playing that make you a proud Rugby player?

Foster states she had the experience of “In my first year of playing provincial, I was long listed for Canada. I was named player of the week in my first ever tournament for Canada. Scored 3 tries against France.”

Quangtakoune stated she “I would have to say my biggest highlight would be winning a city and provincial championship with my two daughters playing on the pitch with me. Rage Women’s Rugby!”

How long have you been coaching the Cougars for?

Foster has been coaching the rugby team since 2011 and Quangtakoune joined her in 2012.

What is your goal for the Cougars this upcoming season now that you guys are back to playing after a season off because of Covid-19?

Foster’s goal is to “for this season is to get the girls back in shape. When I say shape, not only physically but mentally. It was a huge lay off and for the most part they have not been around the game for over a year. Some of the girls have not played in three years.”

Quangtakoune stated her goal is the same every year. “Every year, my goal for the girls would be to see growth in their abilities as leaders on and off the pitch and to win games of course!”

Can you describe one of your most successful moments when coaching the Cougars or another team?

Foster stated “One of my most successful moments was when I was coaching a high school team and a student came up to me to thank me. She said she really enjoyed playing and I made it fun for her. If I wasn’t here doing this for her, she probably would be off doing…let’s just say illegal things. It makes you feel good to be able to help and support young minds.”

Quangtakoune stated “Cougar team 2019 in L.A. Majority of our players were rookies and/or first time starting. First game we won and it was the best feeling seeing the girls play together as a team and putting everything we taught them on the pitch.”

What is the most difficult part of coaching and what is the number one highlight of coaching?

Julie says her most difficult part of coaching is “Time. Being able to be a part of a team and also having a family that needs you as well. The highlight is seeing the am put together what I teach them on the field. As I have said to them, I give them the tools, ‘now go use them.’”

For Quangtakoune, “the most difficult part is seeing the girls leave the game after university or even a season. Watching the girls give it their all on the pitch and the results just wasn’t what they expected. And lastly, watching one of them get injured and is out for the season. The highlight…they become like my daughters; I see them grow up, mature and eventually go off on their own. Proud mama!”

So, there are the insights of Foster and Quangtakoune. They told you their highlights, some jokes, and some heart-to-heart moments, exactly what it is like on the rugby pitch! You create not only a team, but a family, and they and I have experienced it firsthand!


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