SHAWNIGAN LAKE - Jon Zacks, Shawnigan Lake School
It was an amazing weekend of rugby, even by Shawnigan’s lofty standards. The School earned Provincial Championships in three separate events, completing a rugby sweep to coincide with Shawnigan’s 100th birthday.
The trio of titles began with Shawnigan’s junior boys team — the Colts — which beat Carson Graham Secondary 29-3 Friday to win the first-ever BC Championship at the junior level.
Next up was Shawnigan’s Girls XV, which entered the Provincial AA Championship in Kamloops as the No. 1 seed. After a victory over rival Brentwood in the semifinals, Shawnigan trumped Abbotsford 34-7 in Saturday’s final to win the School’s first girls banner in 20 years. Following a comprehensive win over Earl Marriott in Thursday’s semifinal, Shawnigan’s 1st XV entered the inaugural boys AAAA rugby championship game as the overwhelming favourite against Vancouver’s St. George’s School.
Photo: Stephen Lane
However, wet conditions and a gritty performance from Saints led to a nail-biting contest between the perennial rivals. Leading 7-5 at halftime, Shawnigan fell behind when St. George’s converted an offside penalty early in the second half. The game finally swung in Shawnigan’s favour on a terrific run from outside centre Seth Purdey, who gained 40 yards of field position with an acrobatic solo effort before moments later scoring the game-winning try.
“Everyone’s feeling good,” Shawnigan Captain Mostyn Findlay said as his squad prepared to receive the championship banner. “Everyone worked super hard for this, and we got the result we were hoping for.”
Findlay was one of four starters on the 1st XV that also joined Canada’s under-18 squad for a tour of Ireland in the spring. Shawnigan also triumphed in the boys and girls events at this year’s CAIS Rugby Championships in April at Brentwood College School, while the Colts also won the BC Sevens Championship.
“This one is really special with the three teams all having these significant accomplishments on the same weekend,” said Shawnigan’s 1st XV Head of Rugby, Tim Murdy. “It speaks highly of the whole program and how hard our coaches and kids work. People have no idea how much time goes into winning these kinds of things with months spent in the weight room, conditioning work, video analysis, skill work and game preparation. As I told the kids, it is no fluke that we are in the final.”