The University of Saskatchewan Rugby Club participated in the Moose Jaw tournament on Jan. 26 at the Yara Centre. With the forthcoming national tournament, the Moose Jaw tournament provided the team with the opportunity to improve the lineups and make substitutions.
The U of S women’s team was situated in Pool B, along with two other teams, including University of Calgary Team 1 and the University of Brandon. U of S men’s Team 2 was placed in Pool A, along with U of C Team 2 and the University of Regina, while U of S men’s Team 1 competed with U of C Team 1 and the University of Manitoba in Pool B.
The women’s squad conceded a 0-15 loss against U of C Team 1 in their first game of the tournament. However, the team made a huge comeback and claimed a massive 50-0 victory against the U of B — putting them at second in their pool and sending them into playoffs.
The women’s squad carried their momentum from the victory in the preliminary stage into the first round of playoffs, beating the Saskatchewan Under 18 Team 35-20.
Nevertheless, the team’s progression towards the championship was halted again by U of C Team 2 after suffering a 0-30 defeat. The team flirted with the medals, but after conceding a 0-20 loss against the U of R in the bronze-medal game, they placed fourth overall in the tournament.
U of S men’s Team 1 tied both of their games against U of C Team 1 and the U of M, with 15-15. The match between the U of C and the U of M also ended in a stalemate, where all games played in the pool were tied. As a result, the placement was determined by the points for/against system, which positioned U of S men’s Team 1 in third place in Pool B.
U of S men’s Team 2 lost both of their preliminary games against U of C Team 2 and the U of R, with respective scores of 5-20 and 15-20, which placed them in third place in Pool A.
Both men’s teams were defeated in the quarter-finals. Men’s Team 1 dropped a close one to the U of R, with a score of 10-15. The U of M handed U of S men’s Team 2 another defeat with a score of 0-35.
As a result of the losses, the two U of S men’s teams went head to head with each other in the consolation match for fifth place. Men’s Team 1 ended their participation in the tournament on a good note, claiming a 25-0 victory against their fellows, which placed them and Team 2 in fifth and sixth place, respectively.
Mike Sheinin, coach of the U of S Rugby Club, expresses that, although he appreciates the overall effort of the teams, he is not satisfied with their positions in the tournament.
“All of our teams played with a lot of heart and a lot of effort,” Sheinin said via online communication with the Sheaf. “They played very well, but we had high standards coming into this tournament. We have the skill, rugby IQ and athleticism to win a tournament like that. An outcome of fifth [place] is not where we wanted to end up.”
However, Sheinin remains optimistic about the upcoming national tournament, stating that the team will continue to prepare even before the selection of the best 12 is made.
“We have never had a team like this, and we are starting to realize that this might be our year at nationals. Once we pick the final teams [and] our practices and scrimmages throughout the next two months, will be heavily focused on team play and defence. We need to agree on our systems, agree on our lineups and tackle the crap out of each other.”
Photos: Heywood Yu