In addition to Shawnigan Lake School winning the AAAA senior boys rugby championship in Abbotsford last weekend, other teams from the Cowichan Valley experienced mixed results.
The Cowichan Secondary Thunderbirds finished eighth in the AAA Tier 1 tournament, Brentwood College School ended up fourth in the AA Tier 1 tournament, and the Frances Kelsey Breakers finished fifth in the AA Tier 2 bracket.
Going into the AAA tournament seeded eighth, the T-Birds faced top-ranked Yale, the eventual champions, in the opening round and lost 69-0. As the tournament progressed, the T-Birds played teams closer to their own level, and the results improved. Cowichan lost 24-5 to West Vancouver in the second round, and fell 17-5 to Claremont in the seventh-place game. Brandon Watrich and John-Henry Morten scored Cowichan’s tries, and Peyton Eagar was named to the Commissioner’s XV.
“We played some outstanding rugby during these games, and the boys really came together and fought hard throughout,” T-Birds coach Tom Fogarty said. “Unfortunately though, we seemed to lack depth, experience and raw athleticism. A couple of injuries to key players added to these factors resulted in losses that could have easily been wins on any other day.”
Fogarty was still upbeat about his team’s performance at provincials.
“Despite the losses, the team had a great time and represented the school with sheer class the entire time,” he said. “I would personally like to thank all those who showed their support for us during the season, and I am proud of the passion and heart that these young men have displayed in abundance both on and off the rugby field. They are a special group of players and I know with a large contingent of returning players, next year will be even more successful. I would also like to wish our seniors the very best of luck as they move on to bigger and better things in their lives, and I hope they continue to play rugby wherever they end up.”
In the AA Tier 1 tournament, Brentwood got past Langley 31-28 in the quarter finals, but were stymied by the eventual gold medallists from St. Michael’s University School in the semis. They wrapped up the tournament with a 36-0 loss to Rockridge in the bronze-medal match.
Kelsey lost 22-5 to Sir Charles Tupper in the quarter finals, but bounced back to beat McMath 17-8 in the second round and Southridge 29-7 for fifth place.
“Our first game was kind of typical of how we played all year, which was structured to a certain point — usually close to the opposition’s goal line — and then the individualistic style took over, and the end result was not being able to finish,” head coach Craig Schmidt said. “I have had to tell the boys all year that we need to stick to the structured game plan right until scoring and play an entire game doing so.”
When the players did follow the plan, things went much better.
“The third and final game was the best game that we played all year, following the structure of pounding the ball up with the forwards, which created opportunities but also — which was amazing considering the weather — off-loading time and time again… a thing of beauty.”