RUGBY: Delta’s Brit Lions fall in spring openers

After a cold, icy winter, the men’s and women’s teams had a hard time shaking off the rust for their respective spring openers.

Brit Lion Marissa Mapp gets tackled as she tries to advance against defenders from the Kamloops Rugby Club.

Brit Lion Marissa Mapp gets tackled as she tries to advance against defenders from the Kamloops Rugby Club.

After a cold, icy winter, the Britannia Lions Rugby Club’s division 1 men’s and women’s teams had a hard time shaking off the rust for their respective spring openers over the weekend.

The club kicked off the second half of the season with a full day of action at John Oliver Park on Jan. 28. In the day’s first game, the women fell to the Kamloops Rugby Club 41-12. A few hours later, the men lost 43-7 against the Langley Rugby Club.

“We haven’t been playing since November [or] early December, so to be able to come together without having the field to practice the last few weeks, I think we’ve played really well,” said Lions player Amy Grath.

Women’s coach Cleona Anderson said she sees her team progressing in a fantastic way, adding that the team is “ready to go for the second half of the season.”

Brit Lion Amy Grath fights off a tackle by the Kamloops defenders and tries to pass to an open teammate for a score. Photo credit: Bryan McGovern

Brit Lion Amy Grath fights off a tackle by the Kamloops defenders and tries to pass to an open teammate for a score. Photo credit: Bryan McGovern

Assistant coach Jackie Smalls said the team came out of the gate with a lot of aggression, however, they’re still in need of practice for key skills in their game like putting pressure in the back of the line and their overall tackling.

The team caught a couple of breaks down the side thanks to Marissa Mapp, who helped her team score a try by evading a tackle and pushing forward against the Kamloops defender.

The men’s team, which was missing some veteran players due to injuries, wasn’t able to score a try until late in the second half, but by then control of the game rested comfortably with their opponents.

“We haven’t had much practice because of all the snow and ice,” said Lion Malcolm Lenahan about his team’s performance. “We started off a little bit ugly but we took it to them at the end. We showed a lot of heart. I’m proud of my guys.”

The men take flight during a line-out between the Brit Lions and Langley Rugby Club. Photo credit: Bryan McGovern

The men take flight during a line-out between the Brit Lions and Langley Rugby Club. Photo credit: Bryan McGovern

“Today was a rough day,” said men’s coach Andrew Walker, who echoed his player’s words about their missing rhythm due to the lack of practices. “We were very rusty.”

Walker said the Lions recently moved up to B.C. Rugby’s first division and are still finding it hard to acclimate to the level of competition.

Moving forward, he said, the hope is to be more competitive and build some confidence for next season.

“We’re going to improve as the season goes along. The guys want to get better.”

North Delta Reporter

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