Vancouver Island schools take B.C. rugby honours

 

Two Island institutions, with alumni lists that extend to numerous players capped for Canada, swept to B.C. high school rugby titles at Rotary Stadium in Abbotsford on Saturday. The Shawnigan Lake Stags won the Triple-A crown and St. Michaels University School Blue Jags the Double-A championship.

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The top-ranked Stags left little doubt in capturing their sixth provincial Triple-A title in seven years by raking the second-ranked St. George’s Saints of Vancouver 35-5 in the championship game. That avenged last year’s late-game rally loss to the Saints, which ended the Stags’ five consecutive-year run as B.C. champions.

“The only time it was really mentioned is when, at half time, we said we were in this same position last year [leading] and to not let it slip away,” Shawnigan head coach Tim Murdy said. “We focused on the process. But we had to earn this championship. It was a battle of two contrasting styles. We wore them [Saints] down to create our chances.”

Centre George Barton was man of the match for the Stags while fly-half Alejandro Barron kicked two penalties and a conversion.

Second-seed SMUS of Victoria defeated top-ranked Rockridge from West Vancouver 23-7 in the Double-A final.

“We had a go from everywhere, and both our tries [scored by Lucas DeVries and Carson Smith] were beauties,” Jags coach Ian Hyde-Lay said.

Matt McColl converted both tries and added three penalty goals. He is part of a remarkable Blue Jags athletic class, which also won B.C. championships this season in soccer and basketball. McColl, Graeme Hyde-Lay, Max Pollen and Jake Wilmott played on all three provincial championship teams.

Ian Hyde-Lay described the trifecta as “validation” for the SMUS approach. “We believe everyone should be a multi-sport athlete,” said Hyde-Lay, who also coaches the Jags basketball team, from which his son, Graeme, is headed to play hoops for the UVic Vikes. “Of the players on our rugby team, most played at least one other sport.”

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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