We’re in the scrum with this week’s Athletics Review, as we receive updates from both the Senior and Middle schools. In addition, Sam Reid, Chris Bjola and Mark Kiggundu talk about their connection to Gainline Africa, an organization that uses rugby to connect communities.
Junior and Senior Rugby
The six day period May 11-17 featured plenty of rugby at all levels, with, most importantly, the 1st XV securing qualification for the BC AA Tournament.
First however, the team had a great opportunity to improve on its provincial ranking in an away match vs Brentwood. Unfortunately, a very poor start, featuring a lack of aggression and some indifferent tackling, allowed the hosts to run out to an early 19-3 lead. While an opportunistic Dawit Workie score early in the second half narrowed the margin to 24-8, Brentwood, using its huge pack efficiently, added two more tallies to lead by a comfortable margin into the final quarter. Only then did SMUS play some excellent multi-phase rugby, with two sweeping moves finished off by David Pollen. The final score of 36-22 reflected accurately Brentwood’s control on the day. From a SMUS perspective, events underlined equally several areas of play that require distinct improvement before playoffs.
In the City AA playoffs just two days later, SMUS opened up with an easy win over a game, but outmatched, Edward Milne side. Saaed Shokoya, fresh off City and Island track gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters, scored four tries, while fullback Mike Baart added a pair and also potted ten conversions.
The AA final, held May 16, produced a similar theme, with SMUS 56-5 winners over a young GNS team. Flanker Zac Kahn supported and tackled well throughout, while wing Jacob Wilson Potter contributed two tries.
With the victory, SMUS claimed a final BC AA #3 seed. The team will open BC Tournament play May 25 versus Ladysmith.
At the Grade 10 level, a very scratch side scrambled home versus Brentwood 24-8 but then, despite the best efforts of Max Pollen and Mitch Newman, was defeated comprehensively by a talented Shawnigan team. SMUS enters the May 23-24 Islands as the #2 seed, hopeful that Dante Morandin, Aidan McCleary, Carson Smith, Josh Graffi and Kobe Grewal can return to action.
The Grade 9s, just back from their Outtrip, also played at Shawnigan. While long patches of the game were quite competitive, key SMUS missed tackles contributed directly to several easy opposition tries. Still, flanker Josh Kahn, lock Mehrab Kahze and wing Hari Ikonomou all did enough to suggest they might also contribute to the Junior squad at the Islands.
This May 23-24 Island tournament will conclude the grade 9-10 XV aside season. However, all the players will continue to practice in anticipation of the SMUS Invitational Sevens Tournament on June 6.
SMUS Rugby has teamed up with Gainline Africa to help raise money for the organization. In the video clip, Sam, Chris and Mark talk about the program and what it means to them.
Middle School Rugby
by Bruce Kuklinski
Middle School rugby ended this past week with two 11-aside teams traveling to play in the ISEA under 115 lbs tournament in Vancouver against St. Georges, Collingwood, Mulgrave and Southridge. From the 5:45am departure until the 7:30pm return, a great day was had by all. The Grade 6 team, with numbers boosted by five Grade 5 players, improved throughout the day to go 2 and 2. The scrumhalf, flyhalf combination between Lucas Galloway and Lucas Bosley went very well, with lock Connor Chan running and tackling strongly, and Grade 5 centre Darius Roudsari showing much promise. The Grade 7 team proved far too strong against what were mostly Grade 6 sides. Flyhalf Ethan Hersant led the way with some intelligent play, strongly aided by centre/locks Ryan Smith and Owen Wesimiller, and prop Nic Papaloukas.
Middle School rugby will recommence in the fall with the Grade 8 team playing 13-aside against St. Georges and Shawnigan Lake, and also hopefully against some Island public schools.