Senior Boys Rugby
A few days after returning from May midterm break, the Boys 1st XV travelled to Abbotsford to compete in the British Columbia Secondary School Rugby Union Provincials. Having made great strides over the year, particularly in the third term, the team was quite potent and hard working – garnering them their 3rd place ranking in the province, making them a formidable force to do some damage during the tournament and #WinForFlynn, honouring the great Mr. Mike Flynn who has made an amazing contribution to the Brentwood rugby program for decades and who is retiring this year.
After arriving on Tuesday night, the team went to bed early, knowing of the day ahead. Before their matchup against 6th ranked Rockridge, the boys headed over to the stadium to take a team photo and accustom themselves to their new environment. Having matched up against Rockridge just weeks before and beating them 51-7, the boys were confident that they could have a similar result if they put in the same amount of work and energy. That was not completely the case. The boys lacked intensity and discipline for much of the game. Dropped passes, missed catches, and penalties plagued the boys, forcing them to play defense for much of the game. Fortunately for them, they were able to capitalize on some of Rockridge’s mistakes to score tries. The final score was 29-5, though the team was rather disappointed in their efforts. Coaches Thompson and Flynn knew that Brentwood was going to have to play significantly better in order to advance the following day.
On Thursday, Brentwood was set to face the 2nd ranked team from Collingwood. Brentwood played Collingwood early in the season, losing the game 5-11, however, the team had improved considerably. Paired with revenge from the first meetup and redemption from the previous day, Brentwood was prepared to compete against the perennial powerhouse. Brentwood’s intensity was certainly greater than that of the previous day; the team was coming up hard on defense while spreading the ball wide on offense. This led to two quick tries scored to hold a 12-0 lead. However, quick mental lapses and poor tackling led to Collingwood tying up the game just before the first half ended. Down 12-14 at half, the coaches encouraged the team to keep up their high intensity, but to play smarter with it. The team did exactly that. They played stifling defense on Collingwood, not allowing any points in the second half while scoring two tries of their own, the last by young talent Matthew M, Rogers ‘19 on an impressive break. The game ended with a final score of 24-14, sending Brentwood to the finals for the first time in years. The team – players and coaches alike – were excited with the result, but knew the job was far from over.
With the final on Saturday, the team had Friday to prepare for their opponent of St. Michael’s University School and run through their own plays. Following the team run, the boys had some quiet time in the hotel before heading out to Castle Fun Park for some mini golf, go karting, and other attractions. After dinner, some team members went for a dip in the hotel pool and hot tub to relax before the big day the next morning.
Come Saturday, the team was up bright and early once again. They had breakfast, then quickly jumped in the pool again for some pre-game “hydrotherapy” to warm up the bodies for the tough game ahead. Once the bus was boarded for the stadium, everyone was focused; no time for errors now. Brentwood warmed up in their Win For Flynn shirts, reminding them of their goal. Everyone was anxious to play #1 ranked SMUS; having lost to them twice this season – including a heartbreaking 19-27 loss in the Island Final, Brentwood was out for revenge. In the game’s first half, SMUS simply dominated, forcing Brentwood into multiple errors and penalties. Brentwood didn’t help their cases by committing several unforced errors themselves, causing them to have very little possession of the ball in the game’s first half hour. Down 0-14 at halftime, the boys knew that they needed a quick spark if they wanted any chance to get back into the game. Unfortunately, Brentwood’s sloppy play continued and SMUS ran up to 24-0 lead. Brentwood eventually put some points on the board with tries from Keiran MH, Rogers ‘17 and Olamide O, Privett ‘18 but it was too little, too late. The final score was 24-14, with Brentwood walking away with a silver medal. While the team was clearly disappointed in their play, a 2nd place finish is nothing to scoff at. Over the years, Brentwood has improved their Provincials finish from 9th to 6th to 4th to now 2nd. The team walked off the pitch with silver medals around their necks and their heads high. It should be noted that Harrison H, Privett ‘17 was named to the Commissioner’s XV at the end of the tournament.
Though the season did not end as the team would have liked it to, it was still a huge success. Brentwood showed massive improvements as a unit and put forth one of the best results the school has had in years. The team would like to thank all the coaches – Mr. Flynn in particular – for their hard work and dedication to the team, all the bus drivers for transporting the team to and from games, and to all those who attended games. Special thanks goes out to the students who gave up their Red Saturday to travel to Abbotsford in the wee hours of the morning to support the team. Lastly, and most importantly, thank you to all the seniors graduating this year. Rugby at Brentwood has steadily improved because of the work and leadership of the 12th graders. Whether you’ve been playing rugby at Brentwood for one year or four, you made a huge difference on the program and helped make it as great as it is. See you next season!
Olamide O, Privett ‘18