Clearwater and Barriere Secondary schools jointly again sponsored senior and junior rugby teams this season and both teams have had good seasons, according to Gabe Francis, one of the coaches.
“Our senior numbers were down this year so we could not run a senior 15’s team,” he said. “We are taking part in a seven’s league with three other Kamloops schools this year (St. Ann’s, Sahali, and NorKam).”
Rugby 15s has 15 playing for each team while rugby sevens has just seven.
The coach reported that the seniors finished second place in the West Zone league (11 wins and seven losses in league play) and were set to participate in the Okanagan championships in Kelowna with a chance to qualify for provincials.
“The junior boys played 15’s and had a great season,” Francis said. “Their record in league and exhibition play was eight wins and four losses.”
The juniors competed in a zone with Salmon Arm, Pleasant Valley, and Clarence Fulton (Vernon). They had a strong finish to the league season with a 34-5 win over Salmon Arm, and a 59-19 win over Fulton to end up second place in the zone. The boys dispatched Fulton 51-8 in the zone semi-final and then traveled to face Salmon Arm in the zone final.
“The match with Salmon Arm was played in very wet conditions and was a tough battle,” the coach said. “At the end of regulation time we were tied 15-15 and had to play two five-minute halves of overtime. Salmon Arm made a penalty kick to go up ahead 18-15 in the first overtime. We countered with an unconverted try to pull ahead 20-18, and Salmon Arm made another penalty kick to win 21-20 with little time remaining.” The junior Spartans traveled to Rutland for the Okanagan semifinals last Thursday, played fantastic rugby but fell short 29-19. The juniors also earned notable wins at Rugby-fest in Kamloops over highly regarded programs L.V. Rogers of Nelson (defending senior AA boys Tier 2 champs) and WJ Mouat of Abbotsford (presently ranked eighth in the AAA boys division).
“The juniors had a great season,” Francis concluded. “We are playing very competitive rugby with much larger AAA schools like Salmon Arm and Rutland and we had a lot of success with smaller AA schools (who are still a lot larger than us). The future is bright for this group as they move into senior rugby.”