BC provincial rugby teams take home two golds and two bronzes from Nationals


From Andrew Smith, BC Rugby

SHERBROOKE – All four of British Columbia’s age grade provincial rugby programs medalled at the National Championships Festival on Sunday as the teams came home with two golds and two bronzes.

For the second straight year the Under-18 and Under-16 mens teams took top honours going undefeated during the four day tournament. The U18 men were convincing winners in a 40-16 final over Alberta, while the U16s narrowly defeated Ontario in a 15-13 thriller.

British Columbia’s development U16 team, known as the BC-2 Blue, won their third straight bronze medal at Nationals. The team only lost to fellow provincial representatives and eventual national champions BC-1 Gold during the entire tournament. BC-2 defeated Ontario-2 in the bronze medal game by a score of 12-7.

Led by Vancouver’s Jess Neilson who scored all of their points, BC’s U18 women’s provincial team blanked hosts Quebec in the bronze medal final by a score of 13-0.

BC U18 Men – National Championships

  • Wed. August 8th: BC 36-5 vs Ontario-2
  • Wed. August 8th: BC 55-0 Newfoundland
  • Thurs. August 9th: BC 68-0 Manitoba
  • Thurs. August 9th: BC 27-0 Nova Scotia
  • Saturday August 11th: SEMIFINALS BC 25-19 Ontario
  • Sunday August 12th: FINAL BC 40-16 Alberta

After a taxing semifinal against bitter rivals Ontario, BC hit their stride during Sunday’s championship final as they recorded six tries en route to a 40-16 victory over Alberta. BC’s tries were scored by Haydn Evans (Cowichan Rugby Club), Ian McMaster (Bayside AA), Nathan Yanagiya (Capilano RFC), Crosby Stewart (James Bay AA) and Justin Douglas (Abbotsford RFC) crossed over twice. Victoria’s Fergus Hall (Castaway Wanderers) kicked two conversions and two penalties for 10 points.

“This is a great group of guys and as coaches we have had the opportunity to see them develop at the high school, club and regional level over the last few years. They are a diverse team which shows how much talent we have all around the province. This is a great way for them to finish off their under-18 rugby careers,” said BC head coach Jeff Williams.

“We had a tough game against Ontario yesterday and a lot of the guys were pretty beat up. I think it says a lot about their character that they were able to go out and play like they just did,” Williams added. “Heading into today’s final we were striving for a complete game and I think we came pretty close to that.”

BC U18 Women – National Championships

  • Wed. August 8th: BC 13 – 0 Saskatchewan
  • Wed. August 8th: BC 10-15 Alberta
  • Thurs. August 9th: BC 48-0 Manitoba
  • Thurs. August 9th: BC 92-0 New Brunswick
  • Saturday August 11th: SEMIFINALS BC 8-13 Alberta
  • Sunday August 12th: BRONZE MEDAL FINAL: BC 13-0 Quebec

Fly half Jess Neilson (Meraloma Rugby Club) recorded a try, conversion, and two penalties on Sunday as the BC U18 women’s provincial team blanked hosts Quebec by a 13-0 score line in the bronze medal final. BC missed out on the gold medal game after a narrow 8-13 semifinal loss to Alberta but bounced back with a strong performance to ensure the program came home with a medal.

“Our team is a hard fighting group and throughout the tournament we have been through some losses. But we definitely stepped it up for this game to come back with the bronze,” said BC’s Madison Borrows (Abbotsford RFC). “In this [bronze medal] game it was hard defence and it was a hard game to play. It was really fun and I’m so happy that I got to play my last game with this group of girls because they are so amazing and so talented.”

BC-1 U16 Men Gold – National Championships

  • Wed. August 8th: BC-1 Gold 45-0 New Brunswick
  • Wed. August 8th: BC-1 Gold 42-0 Alberta
  • Thurs. August 9th: BC-1 Gold 12-0 BC-2 Blue
  • Thurs. August 9th: BC-1 Gold 41-5 Ontario-2
  • Saturday August 11th: SEMIFINALS BC-1 U16 Gold 24-5 BC-2 U16 Blue
  • Sunday August 12th: FINAL BC-1 Gold 15-13 Ontario-1

In a tightly contested final between the country’s biggest rugby rivals, the BC-1 Gold U16 men’s team led from start to finish narrowly defeating Ontario-1 by a score of 15-13. BC took a comfortable 12-0 lead into half time through tries by Theo Sauder (Vancouver Rowing Club) and Jack Nyren (Castaway Wanderers RFC) with Nyren providing the conversion. In the second half, BC’s only points came courtesy of a Nyren penalty. Ontario trailed 15-8 and crashed over for a try in the final play of the game, but the conversion fell short and saw BC successfully defend their national title.

“It was a pretty hard fought game. We scored a try in the first half and followed it up with another one. But when they scored it didn’t really phase us,” said Nyren after the game. “It’s a pretty great feeling to hold this trophy – this is my third national championship so this is pretty sweet.”

BC-2 U16 Men Blue – National Championships

  • Wed. August 8th: BC-2 Blue 8-7 Ontario-1
  • Wed. August 8th: BC-2 Blue 42-0 New Brunswick
  • Thurs. August 9th: BC-2 Blue 0-12 BC-1 Gold
  • Thurs. August 9th: BC-2 Blue 15-0 Quebec (Quebec Defaulted)
  • Saturday August 11th: SEMIFINALS BC-1 U16 Gold 24-5 BC-2 U16 Blue
  • Sunday August 12th: BRONZE MEDAL FINAL BC-2 Blue 12-7 Ontario-2

For the third straight year at Nationals, BC’s U16 men’s development side competing as the ‘Blue’ came home with a bronze medal. The young team lost twice during the tournament, both games against their fellow provincial rivals and eventual national champions BC-1 Gold.

The BC Blue had beaten Ontario-1 in the pool rounds and followed up the impressive win with a victory over Ontario-2 In Sunday’s bronze medal final. George Barton (Cowichan Rugby Club) scored BC’s opening try and the conversion was kicked by team captain Jeremy Sinclair (Capilano RFC). Ontario crossed over in the in the 25th minute and drew the match level at 7-7 but it was BC’s no. 8 Alex Ho (Fraser Valley East) who provided the game winning score to see BC come out on top.

Christian J. Stewart
Christian is a professional photographer and media professional based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Currently working as the Assistant General Manager for Victoria HarbourCats Baseball Club, a Senior Contributing Editor and photographer at Independent Sports News (ISN) and operating his own freelance photography and media/pr company.