No fewer than eight teams from the Cowichan Valley will be playing in provincial high school rugby tournaments next week.
Defending champions Shawnigan Lake School will lead the charge in the newly created AAA boys tournament in Abbotsford, and Cowichan Secondary will play in the AAA Tier 1 bracket, while Brentwood College and Frances Kelsey will compete in the AA boys tournament.
Cowichan Secondary will also send a team to the girls AAA championships, while Shawnigan and Brentwood will contend for the girls AA title.
Shawnigan is also sending its junior boys team to Abbotsford to play for the first-ever junior provincial championship.
Cowichan Secondary vaulted into the AAA Tier 1 tournament by virtue of a 30-12 win over Belmont on Tuesday.
“We had a very positive warmup, and this energy transferred into the game as we came out firing on all cylinders,” Thunderbirds coach Tom Fogarty said. “The boys definitely stepped up their efforts on defence and this was superb to witness as it has been an area of our game that we have worked hard to improve on over the past few weeks.”
Man of the Match Justin Young scored two tries, as did Will Piche, while Haele Ferguson and Daylon Hicks also took the ball over the line.
The T-Birds can finish no lower than 12th in B.C., and a result any better than 12th will mark the school’s best result ever. The team has already met two of three season goals by beating Kelsey in the local derby and qualifying for provincials — the third goal is to finish higher than 12th.
“I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication that these young men have shown over the past months,” Fogarty said. “They have been a pleasure to coach and I am looking forward to seeing them continue to grow as rugby players and men.”
Also Tuesday, Kelsey beat Edward Milne 25-5 to qualify for the AA Tier 2 tournament, with a shot at finishing as high as ninth.
“The game started too easy for us, as we scored right away, which put the boys in a different head space, not being as serious as we coaches would have wanted,” coach Craig Schmidt said.
The coach is optimistic about his team’s chances at provincials.
“I believe we can honestly go undefeated at provincials if our boys are firing on all cylinders, so the challenge for my fellow coach Jake Teufel and myself is to figure out how to make them play to their potential consistently,” Schmidt said.
Brentwood will advance to the provincial AA tournament despite a 63-22 loss to St. Michael’s University School.
Shawnigan’s junior boys XV defeated Oak Bay 38-27 on Tuesday to win the Island championship, and will head to Abbotsford next week to play for the first-ever B.C. junior title.