There has been a long and fierce rivalry between Vancouver Island’s two Rugby Academies: the Tsunami Rugby Academy, compiling all players living north of the Malahat, and the Tide Rugby Academy, consisting of all players living in the Victoria region.
12:00pm KO, June 24th: Tsunami vs Tide Boot Match (at Shawnigan Lake School)
For those unfamiliar with Vancouver Island rugby, the Island often unites under one banner – the Vancouver Island Rugby Union Tide – to form teams to compete in tournaments and major events. For example, the Rising Tide (or Crimson Tide) was a Vancouver Island men’s side that competed in the now defunct Super League and this year we have U14 Boys and U17 Women Island Tide teams competing at the BC Summer Games in July. However, when the Island starts organizing its junior men’s teams (U16 & U18) to enter the Provincial Regional Championships (PRCs) every year, that clear line is drawn in the sand of Vancouver Island and a bitter rivalry is reborn – and this year is no different.
On Sunday, June 24th, the Tsunami Academy and Tide Academy will compete in their annual pre-PRC warm up match. This match is held almost every year as the final selection process for coaches to select their top 25 athletes. Even though it is only a warm up match – bragging rights are always on the line with the Tide holding the advantage the last few years.
To add just a bit more intensity this year, the winner of the battle for Island Academy supremacy will be walking away with the first annual “Duke Boot” as Vancouver Island Academy Champions . This trophy is named after former Canadian National team member and rugby scrummaging expert Gary Dukelow, in recognition of Gary’s years of dedication to rugby excellence and education on Vancouver Island. It is also fitting that Gary has connections to both Academies, as he captained the Tide for several years and has been involved with coaching the Tsunami.
That addition will only add to the passion and excellent rugby these Island boys have to offer. Like all rugby matches though, when the whistle blows at the end of the match, both sides shake hands, share a drink (of pop), re-tell their war stories and put away their grudges for another year. If you are around the Island this Sunday, come check out and cheer on the future of Canadian rugby. This year’s match is being held at Shawnigan Lake School with the U16s scheduled for a noon kick-off.