Brentwood College School narrowly missed out on bringing home a provincial banner in boys rugby, placing second in the AA Tier I tournament after a 24-14 loss to Island rivals St. Michaels University School in the final.
Brentwood defeated Rockridge 19-5 in the first round and Collingwood 24-14 in the semifinal to set up the championship showdown.
“I think the bigger game for us was beating Collingwood in the semifinal,” Brentwood coach Shane Thompson said. “We haven’t beaten them since I’ve been here, so that’s four years. SMU, I think we could have beaten them, but it would have to be our best game. We just didn’t play our best game at the right time.”
Going into the tournament, Thompson wanted his team to improve on last year’s fourth-place finish, which would almost necessitate winning the semifinal. Brentwood has improved steadily in his four years as coach, starting with back-to-back seventh-place results in 2014 and 2015.
“We’ve made a change in terms of the culture of rugby here,” Thompson said. “We want to be in the mix every year, contending every year.”
The team will lose some key players to graduation this year, but between returning Grade 11s and players moving up from the junior squad that also reached its provincial tournament, Thompson feels his team will be strong next season.
“We anticipate we will be in the mix again,” he said. “We’ll look to improve on second, although there’s only one more spot to go. We’ll be alright. We’ve got a good rugby culture here; all the things that make for a good rugby program.”
No. 8 Harrison Hooke was named as Brentwood’s representative on the Commissioner’s XV after a strong weekend of going forward with the ball.
“He did a lot of things you wouldn’t notice unless you really know rugby,” Thompson said.
Local product William McDougall-Percillier was another standout for Brentwood and is on the national team track, having recently been named to the national U20 side for the upcoming Junior World Rugby Trophy tournament.
“Those guys don’t come around every year at Brentwood,” Thompson said.
Brentwood’s junior boys side played just one game before being eliminated by Robert Bateman 36-34 in the first round of their tournament. Brentwood scored six tries to Bateman’s three, but Bateman’s kicker and Brentwood’s penalties made the difference.
“It was super close,” junior boys assistant coach Drew Langer said. “They had an unreal kicker and we took too many penalties. That one kid had 21 of their 36 points.”
Captain Jacob Bossi and Matthew McDougall-Percillier did much of the heavy lifting for Brentwood against Bateman. McDougall-Percillier scored a late try to get Brentwood within two points, meaning the game likely would have gone into overtime had the conversion found its mark.
“Jacob really motivated the team, and Matthew set the tone on offence,” Langer said.