After six weeks of slogging through the rain and mud, Junior and Senior boys rugby finally started their respective seasons.
Exhibition matches were on tap for both teams, with the Seniors opening March 6 versus Edward Milne. Centres Zac Kahn and Mitch Newman ran effectively, while newcomer Callum Montgomery showed well in his first appearance. With the Wolverines down a man due to injury, lock Abe Kharaghani switched sides to even up the numbers and promptly scored a try against his mates.
See pictures from this match at the SMUS photo gallery
Four days later, SMUS defeated GNS 29-12 in a wide open contest. Fullback Michael Baart kicked impressively, while Owen Sudul made good at flyhalf. Up front, Sean Deakins and Matt Shin anchored the tight five while Aiden McCleary, David Boroto and Michael Cernucan formed an energetic back row.
The Junior boys opened their account with a highly entertaining 44-29 win over a School District 62 Select XV. Loris Friedl showcased some elusive running skills, while Sam Kahn adapted well in the #10 jersey. Bell Wu celebrated his debut with a try.
See pictures from this match at the SMUS photo gallery.
This set the stage for a March 12 encounter against a big and well drilled St. George’s side. The visitors opened up a quick 12-0 lead, thanks in part to a length of the field interception try. However, SMUS – with #8 Jim Newman a powerful ball carrying presence and Mehrab Khazei prominent in the loose – soon hit back with two scores, both converted by Jonathan Sudul.
St. George’s then regained the lead, 17-14, midway through the second half, but waves of home team pressure finally told with a go-ahead score. 21-17 SMUS with four minutes to play!
Alas, it was not to be. With the next whistle set to end the game, a quick break from inside the 22 by Jonas Robinson was not well enough supported and St. Georges counterattacked effectively. A SMUS high tackle was then penalized just metres from the try line, with a quick tap kick then producing the decisive score.
See pictures from this match in the SMUS photo gallery
As disappointing as the 22-21 defeat may have been for SMUS, it was outweighed by many positives. Every player who took part showed real commitment. Fullback Jasper Bosley fielded and returned kicks extremely well, while Josh Kahn won a lot of ball at openside flanker. Others in the forward pack who toiled diligently were hooker Bryce Forbes, prop Marcelo Olsen and lock Dimitri Boroto.
Both teams return to practice near the end of Spring Break. March 31 away fixtures versus Carson Graham loom on the immediate horizon, with the much anticipated Boot Game against Oak Bay confirmed for Wednesday, April 9.
An important aspect of the SMUS rugby program is service work in the wider community. In this video, former students talk about their commitment to Gainline Africa.
Photos by Craig Farish and Darin Steinkey