Spartans first men’s 15s game since 2004 beat UBC Heat

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Trinity Western put together a small piece of history Saturday, as the Spartans men’s rugby team earned a 43-20 win over UBC Okanagan in its first 15s match since re-launching the rugby program this fall.

Josh Halladay (White Rock, B.C.) scored the first try of the game for TWU, launching an offensive barrage from the Spartans that saw the visitors finish with seven tries in their first men’s 15s game since 2004.

From there, Khyree Poole (El Cajon, Calif.) and Ethan Bernardin (Langley, B.C.) dotted down twice each, while Daniel Clement (Edmonton) and Angel Torres (Valley Center, Calif.) also scored for TWU.

Flyhalf Ethan Kelt (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) slotted four conversions for the Spartans.

UBCO responded with three tries, a penalty and a conversion.

TWU ROSTER
1. Ben Graci – Edmonton, Alta. | Nor’Westers AA
2. Scott Bowers – New Westminster, B.C. | Riverside
3. Josh Halladay – White Rock, B.C.
4. Erik Niebuhr – Surrey, B.C. | Bayside Sharks
5. David Wegert – Langley, B.C. | R.E. Mountain Secondary
6. Daniel Clement – Edmonton, Alta. | Edmonton Clansmen
7. Nate Schroeder – West Kelowna, B.C. | Mount Boucherie Secondary
8. Caleb Gerth (c) – Langley, B.C. | Brookswood Secondary
9. Jacob Sousa – Langley, B.C. | R.E. Mountain Secondary
10. Ethan Kelt – Port Coquitlam, B.C. | United Rugby Club
11. Markus Rauch – Abbotsford, B.C. | Robert Bateman Secondary
12. Oliver Feagin – Harbor City, Calif. | SoCal Griffins
13. Ben Adkins – Nairobi, Kenya | Rift Valley Academy
14. Ethan Bernardin – Langley, B.C. | R.E. Mountain Secondary
15. Khyree Poole – El Cajon, Calif. | OMBAC Rugby
16. Patrick Garcia – Dallas, Texas | Dallas Harlequins
17. Mackenzie Nordli – Nanaimo, B.C. | Nanaimo Hornets
18. Angel Torres – Valley Center, Calif. | New England College
19. Brian Carlson – Langley, B.C. | D.W. Poppy
20. Ben Hus – Calgary, Alta. | Ernest Manning High School
21. Nick Halladay – White Rock, B.C.
22. Tim Bamgbade – Surrey, B.C.

QUOTABLE
Andrew Evans – TWU Head Coach
“Overall, the difference in the game was our ability to defend during phase play and score off our set piece. It was a positive team performance for our first outing as a full 15s squad. Our Spartan Faithful who travelled to cheer us on was another factor that made it a special day for our new program.

“Our scrums and lineouts were outstanding today. Scott Bowers (New Westminster, B.C.) was accurate hitting the back of the lineout and our scrum was dominant throughout most of the match. UBCO took advantage of our conceded penalties to put us under pressure and score their points and their outside centre specifically was dangerous both on the run and with his boot.

“On defence, we were solid, led with great work rate, line speed and tackling from the likes of Erik Niehbuhr (Surrey, B.C.) and Caleb Gerth (Langley, B.C.). Ben Hus (Calgary) came on in the second half at outside centre and worked alongside Ben Adkins (Nairobi, Kenya) to contain the Heat and set up opportunities out wide.”

NOTABLE
•    The previous iteration of TWU men’s rugby program competed from 1988 to 2004 and as a varsity program from 1996 until 2004.
•    TWU was coming off a successful weekend at the WestCoast 7s Treasure Island, when the Spartans earned the Shield Championship with a 3-3 overall record.
•    TWU also played in the Viking 10s tournament, hosted by Western Washington University, where the Spartans finished first overall in the four-team event.