Oak Bay looks to retain Rees Boot in high school rugby tilt

The two high schools that have historically provided a flotilla of players for the Canadian national rugby team will renew their rivalry tonight in the annual Rees Boot game between St. Michaels University School and Oak Bay.

The two most notable recent alumni — Oak Bay-grad Connor Braid and SMUS-grad Mike Fuailefau — featured prominently in the Canadian team’s bronze-medal performance last weekend in the Canada Sevens at B.C. Place.

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The Rees Boot game is named after a bronzed playing shoe worn by former St. Michaels University School great Gareth Rees, who played in four World Cups and captained Canada in two of them.

The 26th Rees Boot fixture between SMUS and Oak Bay is today at 6:30 p.m. at Centennial Stadium on the University of Victoria campus.

Oak Bay won last year’s game 53-22 and leads the series 13-11-1 all-time.

The Barbs, however, will be missing Canada Under-18 player Max Abercrombie to injury. Jack Walmsley will fill in at the pivotal fly-half position. Oak Bay is known for a stout back row which boasts Owen Smith, Bashear Fayad and Atticus Karakostas.

SMUS answers with captain Max Nishima at inside centre. The Blue Jags also feature Matt Klimchuk at No. 8, Clayton Burrage at lock and Matt Le Roux at wing.

The Boot game is preceded by the Robinson Cup women’s sevens game at 5:45 p.m. between SMUS and Oak Bay at Centennial Stadium. Katie Mckenzie and Marley Robinson led the Barbs to the silver medal last weekend in the Vancouver Sevens Invitational at B.C. Place. Sisters Kenzi and Skye Farish are a dynamic attacking duo for the Blue Jags.

The day kicks off with the Barbs and Blue Jags meeting in the boys’ junior high school game at 4 p.m. at SMUS field.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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