Grade 9 Rugby

Monday, January 08, 2018 - By: Mr Phil Smith; Photo by Jim Ganley

The Grade 9 Rugby team had a season of remarkable development. We assembled in early September, looking shaky and confused. Rugby is a game with many complications; it is played a certain way, except when it isn’t. Even the drills at practice demand movement foreign to most other athletes. 

Our contingent was diverse. We were skinny, we were thick, we were tall, we were short. We were from all over the world. It was up to our brand new coach, Mr Branchflower, to take these disparate individuals and assemble some cohesion. He got to work. With a soft-spoken nature and affable humour, he quickly endeared himself to his players. The boys responded with attention to detail and hard work at practice.

Though our early results against more experienced opposition were lopsided, a trained eye could see potential. Ryong-won K was especially tenacious, and he quickly developed into an attacking weapon. Joshua H and Luc B developed footwork that scythed through defenders. Gavin V found confidence in the close exchanges and became our best ruck cleaner, and our twin towers - Jacob Z and Dylan K--found their mojo as the season progressed.

The boys enjoyed attacking, and did so with zeal. Joshua H had a commendable coast-to-coast score in Victoria, which had his teammates awestruck. But our top attacker, Tony E, deserves special mention. He scored the majority of our tries, often scoring from deep within our own territory. His long frame meant he was more of a swerver than a stepper, but he could do so both left and right, and without losing pace. He could also employ a long straight arm to fend off the last defender. He was a weapon that any rugby coach would love to have on the field.

We became competitive. It turns out we were capable scorers, and had close games against Collingwood, losing 45-50 and with SMUS, losing 55-62. Finally, we had a good win against a Shawnigan combined team, winning comfortably. The boys should be congratulated on the improvement they made this season!

Mr Phil Smith

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