The St. Michaels University School Blue Jaguars brought the Gareth Rees Boot Game trophy home with a 10-5 win over the Oak Bay Barbarians on Wednesday.
The close scoring game was played at Oak Bay High.
High winds made the kicking game unpredictable.
Flanker Zach Khan scored the try for St. Mikes. Dowit Workie converted the try and also notched a penalty goal.
Oak Bay’s Matt Carson scored his team’s only try.
The win is a bit of an upset for St. Mikes. Oak Bay is much bigger, and are led by a core of provincial level players, Tyler McDiarmid, Connor McDiarmid, Jack Nyren and Morgan Tate (scrum half) in the backs and Evan Cambridge in the back row of the scrum. Which goes to show St. Mikes is also going to a force among boys rugby high school teams this year.
But instead of running with the bigger schools at the AAA level, St. Mikes has chosen to play at the AA level, though they’ll play crossover games with AAA teams in the city’s high school rugby league. It should give them a fighting chance when it comes time for provincials.
The decision to play at the AA level is due to St. Mike’s lack of size more than its lack of numbers.
“This year’s team is tiny, they more than punched over their weight class (Wednesday),” coach Ian Hyde-Lay said.
“It will wear on them, we have eight games coming up, and it’s going to be an issue keeping them ready.”
David Pollen is one of them, as he is committed to more than just rugby, though his brother Max (Grade 10) is a stand out on the junior squad. St. Mikes’ fly half, Dowit Workie, is also an exceptional player, and played for his regional sevens team in the U.S.
“We have some guys who are at the provincial level in terms of talent, but are in different situations.”
The boot game was St. Mikes second game of the season, having defeated Claremont 28-5 in the other game.
About the boot: Gareth Rees was a fly half for Canada and St. Mikes alumnus. He holds the Canadian record for most international test points. Currently, he is the acting manager for the Canadian senior men’s rugby team.