Sherbrooke Vert et Or shut down rugby program.

After 25 years, the University of Sherbrooke has ended its men’s and women’s rugby teams.

On Monday, the University of Sherbrooke announced that they were shutting down their rugby program due to declining participation rates and safety concerns.

The move affects both the men’s and women’s rugby programs, but only the women’s rugby program plays at the U SPORTS level. The Women’s Rugby team went 2-4 in the 2022 RSEQ season, finishing sixth in the conference.

Speaking to CBC on Monday, Sherbrooke, Director of Sports Excellence, was disappointed with the outcome but stated, “When you look at the numbers, it’s hard to get to a different decision than to stop the program.”

Croteau referenced serious health concerns stemming from the program, including multiple games in the 2022 season where the Vert et Or had to forfeit outright due to a lack of healthy bodies. Or, in the case of a game against Carleton, suspend the game in the middle due to too many injuries. 

Sherbrooke women’s rugby head coach Andi Smith disagreed with the notion that the program did not have enough players, telling CBC that she had a roster of 22 students for 2022 and that “I already have a list of about 25 people who would be interested in coming next year.” 

The remaining student-athletes that would have made up the core of the 2023 Sherbrooke Vert et Or women’s rugby roster now face the difficult decision to either transfer to a new U SPORTS program or see their athletic career come to an end. 

As fourth-year Claudia Mooney (who was set to play a fifth and final season with Sherbrooke) told CBC,

“I don’t really want to go to Montreal or elsewhere because I’m from here. My family is here. I coach here. My whole life is in Sherbrooke.”

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