Super saturday for 1st XV

Ms. Catriana Van Rijn
The two teams prepare for the scrum

For 80 years, rugby has been part of the St. George’s foundation of shaping the average student into a well-rounded boy. On Saturday, March 9th, 2013, the St.George’s 1st XV rugby team played their first important game against the infamous Shawnigan Lake School. Shawnigan’s recent track record was the most daunting obstacle for the St.George’s boys, for Shawnigan had been undefeated for nearly five years. On top of that, the Shawnigan boys have held the BC AAA Provincial Rugby Championship title for four years in a row.

This test match against one of the school’s most important and oldest rivals, would provide a helpful insight as to what the Saints would need to improve upon for the season to come.

Saturday was nothing short of spectacular, with warm and dry 13-degree weather as well as sun shining down upon Nigel Toy Field. The conditions were utterly fantastic, and so were the crowds totalling over 100 spectators, cheering for both Shawnigan and St.George’s.

The game was tense right from the kick-off, with both teams battling hard to make the gain-line and put up points early. But it was St.George’s starting fly-half and captain, Senior Harjun Gill, who started the scoring off in the first 5 minutes, cutting through the Shawnigan defensive line like butter. For the remainder of the first half the score remained 5-0 for the Saints, until the Shawnigan Lake Stags were given a penalty right in front of the posts allowing them to close the gap to 5-3 before ending the half.

With the sun beaming down, the fitness of both teams was surely to be tested with a full 35-minute half remaining. The set pieces from both teams were absolutely phenomenal, but the Saints were better prepared as they took advantage of the turnover opportunities putting up more points. “What we lacked in our lineouts, we made up for in our scrums which were outstanding. But again that falls into things we need to improve on” said Harjun Gill. With beautiful tries from both number 8 Mitchell Rothman and fullback Theo Sauder, the Saints gained a larger lead of 20-9. With only 5 minutes left on the clock, the Saints would surely need to show their discipline. But a slip up in focus caused the Shawnigan Lake Stags to score a sneaky quick-tap penalty try, closing the game to a five-point difference with only four minutes to go.

The surprising wake up call was more than enough for the Saints as they pulled off the “W”, ending the game 20-15. “With a game like that we obviously couldn’t be more happy, especially the goals that we set and completed for ourselves. Saying that, there’s a lot to build on as a team, but for now we should just feel proud of how we represented the school,” said Gill. The St.George’s 1st XV have ended Shawnigan’s winning streak, and have done themselves as well as their school proud.