(NATLFEST) BC rugby squads take home two golds, silver and bronze at Nationals
Published Sunday, August 21, 2011 5:00 am
by Andrew Smith, BC Rugby Communications

Calgary, Alta: All four British Columbia age grade rugby teams medaled at the 2011 National Festival on Sunday afternoon, with the Men's Under-18 team and Men's Under-16 team crowned national champs. The BC Women's Under-18 team captured silver and the U16 BC-2 Men's team took home bronze.

Sunday, August 21st - BC Results
Men's U18 Gold Medal Final: BC [ 38 - 33 ]
Women's U18 Gold Medal Final: Ontario [ 34 - 18 ] BC
Men's U16 Gold Medal Final: BC-1 [ 88 - 5 ] Newfoundland
Men's U16 Bronze Medal Final: BC-2 [ 22 - 17 ] Ontario-2


MENS U18: Murphy-Burke scores intercept try to down Ontario 38-33
The most heated rivalry in Canadian rugby took centre stage on Sunday afternoon in the Men's Under-18 National Final with reigning champs Ontario taking on British Columbia. The highly anticipated championship final lived up to expectations with BC winger Liam Murphy-Burke (Bayside RFC) scoring the game winning intercept try to lift BC to a 38-33 victory.

"That game may have been great for the fans, but the coaching staff were on the sidelines close to having heart attacks," said a relieved BC head coach Jeff Williams. "That is how finals should be, with both sides putting everything into it and the game going right until the end."

In a match that saw the lead change hands on several occasions, Ontario drew first blood to go up 5-0 when their prop Curtis Lawson barrelled over for a try. The score was converted by Lucas Hammond. 

Ontario were up 21-14 at the half but let BC back into the game early in the second frame when scrum half Jorden Best (Abbotsford RFC) broke through for a try, with BC tacking on a conversion and a penalty.

The final 20 minutes of play were an entertaining display of high-scoring rugby with the lead changing hands three times.

With seven minutes to play, Ontario were in the driving seat with a 33-31 lead and were pressing deep inside BC's twenty-two. Ontario swung the ball wide and a miss-pass move turned disastrous  as BC winger Murphy-Burke intercepted and ran the ball back for the game winning try. BC full back Connor Hunter (Abbotsford RFC) converted for the 38-33 score line and his side managed to fend off any further attacks from their Eastern foes.

"You have to give credit to Ontario because they posed a lot of problems for us," added Williams. "Their 8-9-10 combination was dangerous and caused us to make a lot of mistakes. That was a close game just as we expected, but our guys played well and they deserved it." 

B.C. Men's U18 Team Results
Wed. August 17: BC [ 41 - 0 ] Quebec
Wed. August 17: BC [ 56  - 0 ] Manitoba
Thurs. August 18: BC [ 31 - 0 ] Alberta
Thurs. August 18: BC [ 12 - 7 ] Ontario
Sat. August 20: SEMIFINALS: BC [ 85 - 5] Alberta
Sun. August 21: GOLD FINAL: BC [ 38 - 33 ] Ontario-1


WOMENS U18: BC takes silver in Women's U18 final vs Ontario
The Women's Under-18 national championship game saw the top-seeded Ontario Junior Storm produce a well-deserved 34-18 victory over second-seeded British Columbia. An older and bigger Ontario side led from start to finish and ran in six tries for the win.

"We came to Nationals this year with a younger team and today our inexperience showed," said BC U18 Women's head coach Brad Baker. "They put a lot of pressure on us and just forced us to keep making mistakes."

BC were down 22-8 at the half with their points coming through a Caitie Ryan (Sa Hali) try and a Jess Neilson (Carson Graham/ Meraloma RC) penalty. BC scored two more tries in the second half with Sarah Gordon (Lord Tweedsmuir / Bayside RFC) and Brittany Barbarant (Merritt) each going over.

"At the end of the day, second place in the country is a lot to be proud of," added Baker. "Looking ahead to next year, we've now got a tested group of players that have competed at this level and that bodes well for the future. "

B.C. Women's U18 Team Results
Wed. August 17: BC [ 20 - 0 ] Quebec
Wed. August 17: BC [ 19 - 8] Nova Scotia
Thurs. August 18: BC [ 12 - 12 ] Ontario-2
Thurs. August 18: BC [ 58 - 0] Newfoundland
Sat. August 20: SEMIFINALS: BC [ 61 -10 ] Quebec
Sun. August 21: GOLD FINAL: Ontario-1 [ 34 - 18 ] BC


MENS U16: 14-try BC down Newfoundland 88-5
The Men's U16 national final was all one-way traffic on Sunday afternoon, with BC leading from start to finish, eventually dispatching Newfoundland 88-5. The scoring opened with BC speedster Tomasi Vataiki  out-sprinting several tacklers to go over and then the flood gates opened.

Three BC players recorded braces with Tomasi Vataiki (Richmond RFC), Giuseppe Du Toit (United RC) and Surge Francis (Abbotsford RFC) each crossing over twice. Singles were notched by Marshall Fuller (Capilano RFC), Spencer Miller (Abbotsford RFC), Randy Barton (Cowichan RFC), Thomas Choi (Abbotsford RFC), Joey Campbell (Abbotsforf RFC), Louis Retief (Abbotsford RFC), Tobin Sydneysmith (Capilano RFC) and Karsten Leitner (UBCOB Ravens). Du Toit kicked nine conversions to round out the scoring.

"We played a good team game and everyone pitched in," said BC U16 captain Spencer Miller. "They played just how we thought they would with hard forward running. Our forwards matched them and then we fanned it out wide and scored some tries."

BC-1 went undefeated during the 2011 National Festival, conceding just 29 points in the entire tournament.

Men's U16 BC-1(Gold) Team Results
Wed. August 17: BC-1 [ 31 - 0 ] Alberta
Wed. August 17: BC-1 [ 29 - 0 ] Saskatchewan
Thurs. August 18: BC-1 [ 19 - 7 ] Ontario-1
Thurs. August 18: BC-1 [ 35 -5  ] Ontario-2
Sat. August 20: SEMIFINALS: BC-1 [ 29 - 17 ] BC-2
Sun. August 21: GOLD FINAL: BC-1 [ 88 - 5 ] Newfoundland


MENS U16: BC-2 (Blue) take bronze in overtime thriller
In a tightly contested bronze medal final, BC-2 downed Ontario-2 22-17 in a match that kept the young players and spectators on their toes through to the final whistle.

BC were down 5-0 early on before forward Alex Ho (Abbotsford RFC) drew the match level with a try to make it 5-5. BC went down 10-5, before Cowichan rugby standout Noah Dobson again drew the score level at 10-10.

Ontario were then up 17-10 with the clock wearing out before BC Captain Spencer Loughlin (Abbotsford RFC) broke through the defence to make it 17-15. BC's kicker Jack Nyren (Castaway Wanderers RFC) booted the crucial conversion to push the game into overtime.

The extra period with sudden death regulations was over quickly when Loughlin again found space to burst through for a try.

"That was my first time ever going into overtime and it was really stressful," said Loughlin after the match. "I'm happy now that it's over and we won, but that was really intense. We played a great game where we crashed through the middle and then spread the ball wide. It was a great team effort."

Men's U16 BC-2(Blue) Team Results
Wed. August 17: BC-2  [ 7 - 31 ] Ontario-1
Wed. August 17: BC-2 [ 54 - 0 ] New Brunswick
Thurs. August 18: BC-2 [ 20 - 3 ] Alberta
Thurs. August 18: BC-2 [ 19 - 17 ] Newfoundland
Sat. August 20: SEMIFINALS:  BC-1 [ 29 - 17 ] BC-2
Sun. August 21: BRONZE FINAL: BC-2 [ 22 - 17 ] Ontario-2


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