Junior Boys Rugby

Monday, July 15, 2013 - By: Chris Norwood

In keeping with the new school mantra, and also to keep Boss Bud happy, I should probably start by saying that the boys in this year’s junior program showed grit. It would be more accurate to say that the boys showed grit the majority of the time, but unfortunately not when Mr. Patel came to watch their matches. We can only blame Mr. Patel.

In grasping at another straw, we might be able to attribute fickle performances to our emulation of French rugby – in adopting their tactics and techniques maybe we also inherited a Gallic… unpredictability. I can’t be too sure, but in keeping with the vein of externalizing problems that this write-up seems to be adopting, we could blame the French. For Ben Watson, Robbie Sambell, me and the other boys with British blood on the team, this has a horrible propensity to come naturally.

What can be said for the French game is that it is fast, dynamic and, most importantly, fun to play. In training, we focused consistently on the ability of every player, regardless of position, to pass and run in open play so they had the confidence to make good decisions in matches based on the situation that was in front of them. By introducing this style of play to the boys we hoped to enable them to think independently and play effectively when situations did not follow a script – this, at least, was the plan.

We started the season with just enough players to form two teams but after travelling to SMUS and hosting Oak Bay numerous long-term injuries forced us to cannibalize the development team in order to patch holes in our starting lineup. In particular, Andrew Stengler’s mallet finger and Dexter Michaels’ broken thumb left us short on attacking options and experience. The team proved to be adaptable, and four of the boys, in particular, stood out through example. Reid Veuger stepped up to provide a defensive bulwark and attacking options in the centers whilst Sean Monteiro’s work rate and sportsmanship contributed to huge improvements in his game. Fischer Woodbridge and Aaron Hersant battled through the season showing great leadership as well as supplying the team with consistently excellent performances in key positions.

Our final game of the year against Shawnigan at the Island Championship tournament proved to be a distillation of the season with the boys displaying some dynamic play and gritty resilience that ultimately resulted in a win for Brentwood and a positive end to the season.

I would like to thank my fellow coaches, Dave Cowie and Dave Grisdale, for their indispensable input and efforts over the season and the boys in the junior program for making rugby at Brentwood the most engaging and enjoyable aspect of my internship this year.

Mr. Chris Norwood, LSE Bound

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