Japan jaunt elevates play

Shawnigan Lake School rugby coach Tim Murdy maps out practice strategy. - Don Bodger/file
Shawnigan Lake School rugby coach Tim Murdy maps out practice strategy.
— image credit: Don Bodger/file

Competing in the Sanix World Rugby Youth Invitational Tournament in Japan isn’t about winning and losing for the Shawnigan Lake School First XV boys’ team.

It’s about the experience.

For a program used to doing mostly winning and not much losing, a 1-5 record in six tournament games could have been viewed as rather humbling. But with eight Japanese teams in the tournament and a smattering from other countries — including sole Canadian representative Shawnigan — it’s clearly the best of the best at this level on the field at all times.

Shawnigan posted a victory over a Korean side while still holding its own in the defeats.

“Two of them were heartbreakers on literally the last plays of the game,’’ said coach Tim Murdy. “The majority of our team is Grade 11. It’s a good experience for them to be exposed to the game at that level.

“You play your six games in eight days. It’s a real grind on the kids. We survived it, but it’s hard, for sure. We were probably one of the smaller teams there.’’

The Shawnigan team trained most every day when it wasn’t playing but also had a chance to do some touring of significant sites.

The 25 players who went to Japan will have plenty to talk about for years to come. It’s the second time in the last three years Shawnigan has attended the tournament.

“We would have preferred some different results but that’s sports,’’ said Murdy. “That’s also a good lesson for the kids.’’

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