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Thunderbirds stay perfect, lift Miller Cup for Lower Mainland title

VANCOUVER - They say that a club’s best team is the 15 players that take the field on any given Saturday. While there may have been some concerns at the start of this game about the number of UBC regulars missing from the starting line up such as Quinton Willms (Earl Marriott), Andre Coe (Bill Crothers), James Thompson (Dromore), Nathan Rees (Porth County), Manar Kulkhan (Port Moody, Cully Quirk (West Vancouver), Thomas Roche (St John’s Ravenscourt) and Connor Hamilton (St George’s), there was never a doubt in the minds of the coaches, Rameses Langston and Curry Hitchborn, and the players that the team on the field would perform to its potential and maintain the standard set over the course of this season.
 

The coaching staff have great belief in the whole Varsity squad, not only in what each player brings in his primary role but also in what each player can contribute in other positions on the field. With Cully Quirk pulling out late with a knee injury, first year Niko Clironomos (Lord Byng) stepped into the breach at outside centre partnering Brock Staller (Kitsilano) who moved into the inside centre from his usual wing position.

Adam McQueen (Canmore), who has played for most of the season at standoff, showed his versatility by moving from his scrum half role against Seattle to full back. Theo Sauder (St George’s) continued his education at stand-off while the reliable Liam Murphy-Burke (Semiahmoo) and Sean Hickson (LV Rogers) started on the wings. Niko Clironomos became the 30th player to represent the Birds during this half of the year and, with just seven players taking part in all eight games, this provided further indication of the competitive depth of the squad.
 

With the unrelenting wind and rain, it was fortunate that the game was played on the Ken Woods Turf field which remained firm underfoot compared to the standing water and heavy conditions on the adjacent Wolfson East grass field. This allowed both teams to play positively with the ball in hand as well as to kick strategically to exploit the available space behind the tackle line and to turn the defence round.

In the first half UBC put enormous defensive pressure on the Burnaby attack close to the contact and in midfield, keeping the visitors pinned in their own half for long periods of time. The Burnaby defence was also resolute only cracking on a few occasions. UBC prop Chris Taylor (Dromore) appeared to have unlocked the Burnaby defensive line when his deft one handed offload sent back row Connor Weyell (Handsworth) clear only for referee Mason to call a forward pass. Then Theo Sauder appeared to have made the left corner after the referee played advantage following a Burnaby knock on in midfield. He was denied by a great covering tackle. The Birds’ only points in the first half came from the boot of Brock Staller who entered the game having scored exactly 100 points in his previous seven games. Both penalties came as a result of UBCs strong scrum. Two infringements by the visitors resulted in Staller converting both opportunities and to give the home team a 6-0 lead at the half.
 

There was no respite from the weather in the second half with the rain and cold appearing to increase. UBC continued its defensive pressure, consistently knocking the Burnaby runners back in the tackle to get its go forward momentum. In attack there were a number of penetrating runs that almost resulted in tries while Sauder turned the defense round with a series of penetrating kicks. As the UBC pack got stronger the break finally came following a series of scrums close to the Burnaby line. When referee Mason judged continual infringement a yellow card was issued to the visitor’s prop. UBC continued to apply the pressure by opting for another scrum and were eventually awarded a penalty try. Staller converted and the score stretched to 13-0. UBC made three changes with two coming in the forwards. Prop Neil Courtney (Handsworth) came on for the impressive Taylor and Nakai Penny (Penticton) came on for the busy flanker Jake Ikeda (Lord Byng). Both players had an immediate impact. Penny produced two crushing tackles to drive the visitor’s ball carriers back while Courtney sustained the pressure at the scrum and got involved in carrying the ball at the Burnaby defense.
 

It was a fitting end to the game when Courtney grabbed the final try of the game, his fourth of the season, taking the team’s total to 43. Staller converted again and game finished at 20-0 for the Birds. The victory took the team’s record to 8-0, having scored over 300 points and outscoring its opponents by an average of 37 to 14.

 

Academic All Canadians:

On November 18, 2015, UBC hosted the Academic All-Canadian Breakfast of Champions, where 136 UBC student-athletes, including 10 from Men’s Rugby, were recognized for achieving an average of 80% or higher in their classes while competing in a UBC varsity sport during the 2014-15 season. We are very proud of the following athletes:
 

  • Neil Courtney

  • Peter Stockton

  • Paul Ahn

  • Sam Jeffries

  • Chris Taylor

  • James Thompson

  • James McKenzie

  • Josh Schrieber

  • Alan Hogarth

  • Eric Hunter-James
     

Holiday Season:

On behalf of all the members of the UBC Rugby Club we would like to wish all of our Alumni, Parents, Supporters and their families best wishes for the Holiday season and look forward to see you all in 2016.
 

Results and Fixtures:

September 15: UBC 20 – New Zealand Universities 10

September 15: UBC 0 – Trinity College Dublin 8

September 18: UBC 10 – Siberian Federal University 5

September 18: UBC 12 – University of Cape Town 24

September 21: UBC 18 – Oxford University 14

September 26: UBC 43 – Capilano 24

October 10: UBC 34 – Rowers 6

October 17: UBC 38 - Burnaby Lake 25

October 24: UBC 36 @ Ravens 14

October 31: UBC 50 v Meraloma 7                 

November 7: UBC 38 @ Seattle 19

November 14: Play Off: Bye to Semi Finals

November 21: Play Off – UBC 43 –Seattle 19

November 28: Bye

December 5: Play Off Final v Burnaby Lake for the Miller Cup, UBC 20 Burnaby Lake 0


Next Game: Our first fixture in 2016 will be on Saturday, January 16th when we host the University of Victoria Vikes for the ‘The Boot’ Fixture. Mark it in your calendars.

December 7, 2015

End of year summary from UBC Rugby President Andrew Hamilton

Dear Alumni, Parents and Players,


Since we set the resurrection of UBC Rugby in motion two and a half years ago, the main premise of the ‘Return to Excellence’ was to make UBC Rugby the ‘Best University Rugby Program in North America’. In order to accomplish that goal we raised over $3 million to build a new clubhouse and attract quality players from at home and abroad. In addition, we have done a complete rebuild of our pitch to the highest standard and installed two new scoreboards.
 

We engaged new coaches (Rameses Langston, Head Coach, Curry Hitchborn, Pat Fleck (7’s) and Luke Gray) , a General Manager (Dave Brown) as well as retaining coaches Spence McTavish (7’s), Rod Holloway, Alasdair Hamilton and Maria Gallo (Head Coach – Women’s 15’s). The addition of Joe McCullum, Head Coach, Strength and Conditioning to UBC Athletics has provided us with an unparalleled strength & conditioning program.
 

In short, we have changed the face of UBC Rugby to the extent that when the Varsity Athletic Review came about, we passed with flying colours! The continued generous support of the UBC Athletic department has been invaluable in our efforts to provide and maintain the best possible facilities for one of UBC’s oldest Varsity sports. Our progress has been recognized internationally. We were among a select group of elite world university programs invited to compete in the inaugural World Universities Tournament in Oxford to be held concurrently with Rugby World Cup every four years. We accepted and will be competing in Oxford this September. The result of all of this hard work is the following:
 

2013-2014 Okanagan Spring League Season

  • World Cup Champions against Berkeley for the first time since 2006

  • ‘Boot’ Trophy Champions against UVic for the first time since 2003

  • Las Vegas 7’s Tournament Champions

  • Finalist in the CIS Sevens Finals

  • Won every game of the regular season except for 1

  • Div. 1 Final Champions against Seattle to gain admission to the Premier League

  • Div. 2 Final Champions

  • Sent 5 players to represent Canada at the Junior World Rugby Trophy in Chile
     

2014 – 2015 Premier League Season

Our goal for this season was to build up our depth of players and finish in the top four of the league.

  • World Cup Champions against Berkeley again, defeating them on their own turf for the first time since 2004

  • ‘Boot’ Trophy Champions against UVic again

  • Las Vegas 7’s Tournament Champions

  • 2014-2015 CIS Sevens Finalists

  • Regular Season Premier Division Champions

  • CDI Premier League Champions against UVico Lifted the Rounsefell Cup for the first time since 1947!

  • Sent 5 players to represent Canada at the Junior World Rugby Tournament in Hong Kong and 6 players to the JWRT in Lisbon

 

In the last 3 seasons UBC Rugby has provided 16 players to U20 Canada, the most players of any teams in Canada and this year twice as many as any other rugby program in the country. UBC is now the number # 1 pathway for Canada U20 representation.
 

Underlying our success is the depth of our teams. Although the success of the Varsity Team is highlighted, without the tenacity and dedication of our Braves, Totems and U20 teams we could not possibly develop and provide the support necessary for the success of the Varsity team. It is these teams that provide the replacements for injured T’Birds. Without players from these teams stepping up in tough times we could not have enjoyed the success that we have had. We recognize and applaud the dedication of these players because they are key to the success we've achieved.
 

Finally, our women’s team under the direction of Maria Gallo is starting to gain new recruits and depth. We look forward to the continued growth of the women’s program in the coming years.
 

In summary, UBC Rugby, since we started the Return to Excellence campaign, has put in one of the best performances in its 100 year history. The credit for this success is due to the hard work of the coaching staff, the management and, most importantly, the players. It is no mean feat for a student to play Varsity rugby. The sacrifice, both socially and physically is significant. The ability to balance school and rugby to achieve excellence in both requires dedication that few can sustain. It is a credit to our players that they can accomplish what they have on the pitch and still maintain their academic standing. The boys are a credit to their team, their school and most importantly, themselves.
 

Going into the new 2015 -2016 season the UBC Rugby Association will continue to drive towards our goal of having the best University Rugby Program in North America. In order to move forward and capitalize on our strengths, we need to focus and achieve the following,

  • Encourage players and recruits to come to UBC because it is the best place to pursue their academic and athletic dreams

  • Garner more Alumni support and presence both on the sidelines and off

  • Increase our endowment to the extent that our Varsity list players have their tuition paid for

  • Enhance our international reputation as a great rugby club and a great school


All of this, as you all know, requires funding! Peter Bull, Greg Obertas and I will be diligently fundraising so that we can establish UBC Rugby on a firm financial footing going forward.
 

In closing, I cannot emphasize how proud I am of our organization. In a relatively short time UBC Rugby has accomplished an almost unheard of return to the top of arguably the best rugby league in North America. Collectively we've been driven towards this goal since the inception of our campaign.
 

We have brought a new vision, a new management style and a new coaching style to UBC Rugby and it is clearly paying off! But the real joy in all of this is seeing our guys driving down the field with unwavering determination against full grown, experienced men. They never quit, they never back down, and for that they will be rewarded for the rest of their lives.
 

We do all of this to give our players the experience that we remember ourselves and so fiercely cherish. If we can continue to accomplish this part of the goal, UBC Rugby will return to more than Excellence. Indeed, our new goal is to be amongst the very best University rugby programs in the world.

Thank you for all of your past and future support and we look forward to seeing you in Oxford and the 2015 -2016 season.

 

Yours Sincerely,

Andrew S. Hamilton
President, UBC Rugby Association 

June 3, 2015

Birds instrumental in Canada U20 win over Hong Kong

Canada U20s notched its second consecutive win with a 24-15 win over Hong Kong. Phil Berna scored another try in the win and the team now prepares for its showdown pool game against Tonga.

 

The full game report from the Rugby Canada site is blelow.

 

Canada made it two wins from two at the U20 World Rugby Trophy Saturday as they defeated Hong Kong 24-15 at the Estadio Universitario in Lisbon, Portugal.

 

Phil Berna and Lucas Rumball scored tries for Canada while Dylan Horgan added eight points and Giuseppe Du Toit kicked two penalties.

 

“Taking points when they are on offer and keeping the scoreboard ticking has been critical for our success and epitomizes tournament style rugby,” Du Toit said.

 

“Lots of credit goes to our forwards who have given the backs a stable platform from the base of the scrum. The overall athleticism from the team and leadership from the senior players have combined exceptionally well on and off the field as both confidence and team morale are very high.”

 

Canada got off to a flying start as they built a 15-0 lead within 20 minutes.

 

After an early penalty miss by Horgan, Du Toit stepped up and slotted home the first points of the day with an eighth minute penalty. Du Toit would miss a penalty three minutes later but Canada would score the first try of the day through Berna in the 12th minute.

 

It was soon 13-0 as Rumball touched down, with Horgan adding the conversion.

 

“I thought we had our best start in all our games,” head coach Jeff Williams said. “We stuck to our game plan and played very direct.  With a great platform like our scrum it allowed us to attack with space."

 

Despite the fast start, Hong Kong cut into Canada’s lead as Liam Owens’ try was converted by Hugo Stiles, who then added a penalty in the 28th minute.

 

Horgan would put Canada ahead 18-10 with his first penalty of the day but Hong Kong answered immediately when Raef Morrison scored although Stiles couldn’t add the conversion.

 

Canada were able to add to their lead before half time as Horgan slotted his second penalty of the day between the uprights to put Canada up 21-15 at the break.

 

The game would remain deadlocked until Du Toit kicked a 79th minute penalty to seal the win for Canada.

 

“We have won [and] that's not easy at this level,” Williams said. “We have played well in patches. There is still lots of work to do, especially on defence.” 

 

Williams made five changes to his starting lineup but was forced into a sixth change when Reegan O’Gorman fell ill Saturday morning.

 

“The new blood trained well all week and have earned the right to play,” Williams said. "The depth of our program has been our strength since the opening camp.  They make it a difficult job to select the team. You could not ask for more than that.”

 

Canada will be back in action on Wednesday when they tackle Tonga, who beat Naimbia 45-11 later in the day Saturday. The winner of that match will play in the tournament final on May 24.

 

“The guys are very confident and upbeat heading into our next clash with

Tonga,” Du Toit said. “We set ourselves a goal of four wins out of four during March and the same goes for this tournament. Thus far we have taken each game one at a time, this boding well for our game preparation for each individual team and makes our preparation for Tonga no different as we know what the stakes are.”

 

Wednesday’s game kicks off at 2pm ET / 11am PT and can be watched LIVE at http://www.fpr.pt/noticias/index.asp?pagina=1&opm=25&id=11722&id2=25.

 

Canada’s Squad for Saturday’s match vs. Hong Kong

1 - Brendan Blaikie – (Queen’s University/Markham Irish) Markham, ON

2 - Patrick Finlay – (Trinity University) Dublin, Ireland

3 - Matt Tierney – (Mississauga Blues) Oakville, ON

4 - Paul Cuilini – (Aurora Barbarians) Vaughan, ON

5 - Adrian Wadden – (Oakville Crusaders) Mississauga, ON

6 - Lucas Rumball – Captain (Balmy Beach) Scarborough, ON 

7 - Mitch Rothman – (Vancouver Rowing Club) Vancouver, BC

8 - Luke Bradley – (UVIC Vikes/Port Alberni Black Sheep) Port Alberni, BC

9 - Tony Pomroy – (Baymen RFC) Conception Bay South, NL

10 -Dylan Horgan – (UCC Rugby Club) Cork, Ireland

11 - Karsten Leitner – (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC

12 - Guiseppe du Toit – (UVIC Vikes) Maple Ridge, BC

13 - Phil Berna – (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC

14 - Theo Sauder – (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC

15 - Andrew Coe – (UBC Thunderbirds/Markham Irish) Markham, ON

16 - John Shaw – (Bytown Blues) Ottawa, ON

17 - Bryce Worden – (Burnaby Lake RFC/Belleisle RFC) Sussex, NB

18 - Conor Young – (Southern Districts RC) Sydney, Australia

19 - Cali Martinez – (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC 

20 - Daniel Joyce – (Trinity University) Dublin, Ireland

21 - Emil Sehic – (Fredericton Loyalists) Fredericton, NB

22- Harjun Gill – (UBC Thunderbirds/Richmond RFC) Richmond, BC

 

Canada’s World Rugby U20 Trophy 2015 Match Schedule

 May 12 — Canada 35 - 20 Namibia 

May 16 — Canada 24 - 15 Hong Kong 

May 20 vs. Tonga – 7 p.m. local time (11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET)

 

Play-Off Schedule

May 24 – 7th Place Play-Off – 11 a.m. local time (3 a.m. PT/6 a.m. ET)

May 24 – 5th Place Play-Off – 1 p.m. local time (5 a.m. PT/8 a.m. ET)

May 24 – 3rd Place Play-Off – 3 p.m. local time (7 a.m. PT/10 a.m. ET)

May 24 – Final – 5 p.m. local time (9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET)

May 17, 2015

Thunderbirds prominent in Rugby Canada U20 win against Namibia in opening game of the World Trophy in Portugal 

Two Tries from Karsten Leitner (St George's) and singles from Theo Sauder (StGeorge's) and Phil Berna (St George's) pushed Canada to a 35-20 bonus point win in its opening pool game against Namibia. Canada's next game is against Hong Kong on Saturday May 16th.

 

Read the report from Rugby Canada below.

 

Canada got their U20 World Rugby Trophy campaign off to a winning start Tuesday as they beat Namibia 35-20 at the Estadio Universitario in Lisbon, Portugal.

 

Canada got two tries from Karsten Leitner while Theo Sauder and Phil Berna also touched down. Fly half Dylan Horgan converted three of Canada’s four tries and also slotted home three penalties.

 

“It was a scrappy win with lots of mistakes,” head coach Jeff Williams said. “But in the second half we gained momentum through our forwards and we were able to string a few phases together. Overall, I was happy for the boys. They deserved the win in the end.”

 

Canada built an early 13-0 lead thanks to Leitner’s first try and Horgan’s boot, however, Namibia cut the deficit to just three points at the break as Canada took a 13-10 lead into half time.

 

Canada came out with a renewed aggression in the second half and quickly added a try as Sauter crashed over in the corner to extend the lead to 18-10.

 

Namibia responded swiftly with a try of their own but Canada kicked into another gear and scored twice more as Leitner and Berna touched down to put Canada up 32-15.

 

“Our scrums became dominant,” Williams said of his side’s second half performance. “Our ability to play on turn over ball really helped as well. Overall I think the nerves began to settle a little for us and we were able to start to play to our strengths.”

 

Horgan would add another penalty to take his personal tally to 15 points and despite a late Namibian try, Canada played out the final minutes without any concerns.

 

“In a tournament where one loss can stop you from getting to that title game it's a huge relief,” captain Lucas Rumball said. “This win is going to allow us to build and keep getting better as a team as the tournament progresses.”

 

Canada is back in action Saturday when they face Hong Kong. Kick off is 10 am ET / 7 am PT and can be watched LIVE at www.fpr.pt.

 

Canada’s Squad for Tuesday’s match vs. Namibia

1 - Matt Tierney – (Mississauga Blues) Oakville, ON

2 - John Shaw – (Bytown Blues) Ottawa, ON

3 - Cali Martinez – (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC 

4 - Paul Cuilini – (Aurora Barbarians) Vaughan, ON

5 - Reegan O'Gorman (Christchurch Marist Albion) Vancouver, BC 

6 - Lucas Rumball – Captain (Balmy Beach) Scarborough, ON 

7 - Ollie Nott – (UVIC Vikes) Qualicum, BC

8 - Luke Bradley – (UVIC Vikes/Port Alberni Black Sheep) Port Alberni, BC

9 - Daniel Joyce – (Trinity University) Dublin, Ireland

10 -Dylan Horgan – (UCC Rugby Club) Cork, Ireland

11 - Karsten Leitner – (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC

12 - Guiseppe du Toit – (UVIC Vikes) Maple Ridge, BC

13 - Mitch Santilli – (Brantford Harlequins) Brantford, ON

14 - Theo Sauder – (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC

15 - Andrew Coe – (UBC Thunderbirds/Markham Irish) Markham, ON

16 - Mitch Rothman – (Vancouver Rowing Club) Vancouver, BC

17 - Conor Young – (Southern Districts RC) Sydney, Australia

18 - Brendan Blaikie – (Queen’s University/Markham Irish) Markham, ON

19 - Adrian Wadden – (Oakville Crusaders) Mississauga, ON

20 - Tony Pomroy – (Baymen RFC) Conception Bay South, NL

21 - Phil Berna – (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC

22 - Harjun Gill – (UBC Thunderbirds/Richmond RFC) Richmond, BC

 

 

Canada’s World Rugby U20 Trophy 2015 Match Schedule

 

May 12 – Canada 35 – 20 Namibia

May 16 vs. Hong Kong – 3 p.m. local time (7 a.m. PT/10 a.m. ET)

May 20 vs. Tonga – 7 p.m. local time (11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET)

 

Play-Off Schedule

May 24 – 7th Place Play-Off – 11 a.m. local time (3 a.m. PT/6 a.m. ET)

May 24 – 5th Place Play-Off – 1 p.m. local time (5 a.m. PT/8 a.m. ET)

May 24 – 3rd Place Play-Off – 3 p.m. local time (7 a.m. PT/10 a.m. ET)

May 24 – Final – 5 p.m. local time (9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET)

May 16, 2015

Thunderbirds lift coveted Rounsefell Cup

The UBC Thunderbirds won the BC Rugby Union CDI Premiership Final and the Rounsfell Cup on Saturday with a comprehensive 52-22 victory over the University of Victoria.

The game remained close for 50 minutes until the Birds ran in five tries to overwhelm their rivals from Vancouver Island.
 

Receiving the kick off, UBC put together a series of controlled possession before Brock Staller (Kitsilano) converted a penalty and give the Birds a 3-0 lead, one they would never give up throughout the game. The lead was extended after just six minutes when Sam Clark (Kitsilano) scored on a line-out drive on the right to push the lead to 8-0. The Vikes cut the game to 8-3 when they converted the first of what would be a continuous series of penalties against the Birds. The response from UBC was swift. After a series of rucks, Jorden Sandover-Best broke on the right before offloading to Paul Ahn (Yale) who sent James Thompson (Dromore) into space to score in the right corner.
 

At 13-3, UBC looked in control but continued to concede penalties. After a series of three successive infringements, the Vikes reduced the lead to 13-6. Sensing a shift in momentum, the Vikes broke on the left and a desperate cover tackle from Bryan Tyrer (Hugh McRoberts) looked to have saved a certain score in the corner. The referee had a different opinion and penalized Tyrer for a dangerous tackle, sending him to the bin and awarding the Vikes a penalty try which was converted to tie the score at 13-13. Unperturbed by the carding, UBC recovered the kick off and forced the Vikes to infringe. The kick was placed in the right corner and the Birds drove over the line from the line-out through Charlie Thorpe (Vancouver College). Staller converted and the Birds moved in front 20-13 which remained he score at the half.
 

UBC’s penchant for allowing the opposition to remain close continued after the interval as two further penalties reduced its lead to 20-19. Staller added his second penalty to make it 23-19. Despite scoring four tries to the Vikes’ one try, UBC could not seem to put the game away. Then, after almost fifteen minutes of play, Nate Rees (Porth County) scored an individual try which finally broke the game open. Staller converted and the birds were up 30-19. A brief response through another penalty brought the score to 30-22 before Quinton Willms (Earl Marriott) scored in the left corner following a poor Vikes’ clearance kick to make it 35-22.
 

Manar Kulkhan (Port Moody) was next to cross, scoring on a long run on the left after Tyrer created a turn over. At 40-22 for the Birds, the game was won but further scores for Thomas Roche (St Johns Ravenscourt) and Kulkahn with his second, along with a final convert for Staller, increased the score to 52-22 and gave the Thunderbirds its first Rounsfell Cup victory since the 1946-1947 season.

From playing in the middle of the second tier of BC Rugby just over two years ago, the Thunderbirds are now Champions of what many people believe is the best rugby competition in North America.
 

For game highlights CLICK HERE 

For the BC Rugby News report on the Final CLICK HERE

May 11, 2015

Thunderbirds Look to End Long Drought in the CDI Final for the Rounsfell Cup

UBC Thunderbirds will be trying to win their first Provincial Rounsfell Cup Championship in almost 70 years with the last success being in the 1946-1947 season.

The Birds finished top of the CDI Premier League after being promoted with 48points and with a 9 4 -1 record, scoring 377 points while conceding 306. Their opponents, the University of Victoria Vikes also finished on 48 points with a 9-3-2 record, scoring 376 pints and conceding 332.

The tie breaker between the teams was the two UBC wins against the Vikes in the Boot series which the Birds took 30-19 at home and 23-19 on the Island.

The two best teams in the league will come into the game missing some key personel with call ups to the Canada U20 World Trophy Squad affecting selection.

The Vikes will be without their leading scorer Guiseppe du Toit who finished the season with 81 points. UBC will miss the contributions of both Harjun Gill (St George’s) and Theo Sauder (St George’s) in a backline that will still include Brock Staller (Kitsilano) who finished second on the CDI Premier League table with 99 points in his eleven games, scoring 6 tries, 9 penalties and 21 conversions.

Both sides play a similar style of game and the match ups between the teams is competitive. Each player vs. player matchup will be crucial. Coach Rameses Langston is well aware of the threats that UVic’s players pose if given room to run. “They’re a strong 15 across the field and have key substitutes that are able to influence the game. They are literally an all-star team that we need to be ready for.”

Langston has done a great job this season in preparing the team for key games and has used the depth in the squad to ensure that the team has been competitive throughout the season.

If UBC can play a similar game to its semi-final win over Burnaby, the team will be in a very good position to challenge for the Rounsfell Cup. Discipline at the breakdown, strong defense and execution of the basics will be key factors in determining the outcome of the game.

“The expectation is for our forwards to dictate and do a great job for us up front,” Langston said. “But that’s not the only thing this team can do. We’re never the same team twice.”

Indeed, the Birds will need to be at their best to pull off a third seasonal win over the Vikes.

From playing in the middle of the second tier of BC Rugby just over two years ago, the Thunderbirds are now vying for the championship of what many people say is the best rugby competition in North America.

The Championship Final is on Saturday May 9th at Klahanie Park in North Vancouver with the kick off scheduled for 3.00pm. We encourage all our alumni to come out and support the team.

Go Birds Go!

May 6, 2015

Braves compete to final whistle in semifinal loss to Burnaby

Results for Saturday May 2nd

Library Square League Semi-Final: Braves 12 @ Burnaby Lake 23
 

The UBC Braves went down 23-12 to reigning First Division Champions Burnaby Lake Rugby Club on Saturday in a compelling Library Square League provincial final.

UBC started the game with seven first year players including five in the pack.  The game in the first half saw the home team trying to assert its dominance up front and play its runners directly after the scrum half and fly half. Burnaby defended resolutely and could have taken the lead after 15 minutes but Tom Kanwischer (Handsworth) pushed his kick wide. Left winger Wes Lee (Prince of Wales) was particularly prominent in the first half, coming in strongly from his wing to penetrate the Burnaby tackle line to initiate the majority of UBC’s attacks. Burnaby eventually took a 3-0 lead from a penalty after twenty five minutes and extended this to 6-0 right at half time after the Braves had survived a furious period of defending with Liam Murphy-Burke in the bin.
 

The second half continued in the same vein with Burnaby increasing its lead to 9-0 with a third penalty after just five minutes. With the home team’s scrum beginning to become more dominant, a tray finally materialized after 15 minutes and with the conversion, the lead was stretched to 16-0. UBC began to make changes from the bench and the impact was immediate. Nick Collett (Southridge) came on at full back and broke the line to send Mark Cheong (UWCSEA) over in the left corner only knock on as he put the ball down. Minutes later, Mike O’ Toole (Seaquam) took a quick tap penalty and powered over to reduce the score to 16-5. From the kick off, the braves moved the ball quickly to the left for Manar Kulkhan (Port Moody) to break the line and round the two remaining defenders on a seventy meter run to the posts. With Murphy-Burke converting, the score was narrowed to 12-16.
 

With time winding down and a score needed by both teams to seal the win, the final minutes were frenetic. Collett made a further two telling breaks from full back but when the ball was turned over, Burnaby’s right wing picked up the loose ball to score at the posts. The conversion made it 23-12 and the whistle went for full time.
 

While the end result was disappointing, it does not overshadow the tremendous season by the Braves who finished in the top four of a competitive league and developed a large number of young players who will all benefit  from the experience next year.
 

Upcoming Games May 9th
Next weekend sees the Thunderbirds at Klahanie Park in the BC Rugby CDI Premier Final for the Rounsfell Cup. Kick off time TBA.

May 2, 2015

Braves set for Library Square First Division semifinals vs Burnaby

VANCOUVER, BC - For the second straight week, teams from UBC and Burnaby Lake Rugby Club will meet in a BC Rugby provincial league semifinal. The programs will clash again on Saturday, May 2nd at the Burnaby Lake Sports Complex in the First Division Library Square playoffs. 

 

Burnaby will be looking to avenge its CDI Premier League loss while the Braves are relishing the opportunity to join the Thunderbirds in May 9th’s BC provincial finals at Klahanie Park. 

 

Defending First Division champions Burnaby Lake have been virtually unbeatable this year, going 13-1 in league play and posting 12 consecutive wins, including two against the Braves. The teams will kick off at 1:00pm and all UBC supporters are encouraged to show up and support their team. 

 

‘GO BIRDS GO’

 

First Division Library Square Semifinal - UBC Braves at BLRC  

Sat. May 2nd, 1:00pm at Burnaby Lake Sports Complex 

May 1, 2015

Thunderbirds down Burnaby, advance to Rounsefell Cup Final

Thunderbirds Defeat Burnaby Lake 23-8 and Qualify for the Rounsfell Cup BC Rugby Championship Final
The Birds’ success in the CDI Premier League semifinal means that hey now move on to the BC provincial final set for May 9th where they will meet old rivals the University of Victoria at Klahanie Park.

On Saturday, the opening 20 minutes was a period of testing for both sides and visitors showed slightly more composure having competed in the previous two BC Finals. UBC gave up four penalties and turned the ball over on a further two occasions to give Burnaby hope. But when an exciting UBC counter attack from Brock Staller (Kitsliano), James Thompson (Dromore) and Neil Courtney (Handsworth) at the mid-point of the half took play to the Burnaby line, the pattern of the game changed.
 

It was flanker Thomas Roche (St Johns Ravenscourt), who had an outstanding game on both sides of the ball, who made the next decisive break before offloading to prop Paul Ahn (Yale) who sent the supporting Jorden Sandover-Best (Robert Bateman) over the line. Staller converted and the Birds were in front 7-0. The next score for UBC came from a line-out in left field. The quick, clean ball went to Bryan Tyrer (Hugh McRoberts) who made a half break before offloading to Thompson. Once behind the tackle line there seemed to be little doubt about the outcome and Thompson accelerated through and past the remaining Burnaby defence to score. Staller converted again to push UBC’s lead to 14-0.
 

Burnaby got back into the game when a Sandover-Best clearance kick was judged to have been made outside the twenty-two meter line. The line-out was brought back and Burnaby won the contest before penetrating wide on the right to score in the corner to reduce the lead to 14-5. Just before the half, UBC wasted an opportunity to extend its lead when it failed to convert pressure on a series of line-outs close to the Burnaby line. The half ended 14-5 in favour of UBC.

The second half was notable for the Birds’ great defensive effort. Burnaby attacked the midfield channels as well the fringes off the contact points but were met time and time again with resolute tackling from the UBC players. Brock Staller’s early penalty was cancelled out by a Burnaby Penalty to leave the score at 17-8 for UBC. Staller added a further two penalties to stretch the lead to 23-8, pushing the Birds across the finish line and rewarding them for a place in the Rounsfell Cup Final.
 

Game Highlights and the full game can be watched here.

 

Upcoming Games

Next weekend sees the Braves travel to Burnaby Lake in the Library Square Cup Semi Final:

May 2nd

Library Square First Division Semi Final: UBC Braves @ Burnaby Lake RFC, KO 1.00pm

 

May 9th: Rounsfell Cup Final at Klahanie Park, North Vancouver, UBC Thunderbirds v University of Victoria Vikes, Kick Off TBC

April 25, 2015

Birds set to host Burnaby Lake in Premier League semifinal

Roster announced for CDI Premier League semifinal

 

A little over two years ago UBC was playing in the middle of the BC Okanagan League. This coming Saturday, UBC will take on last year’s defeated Rounsfell Cup Finalists Burnaby Lake Rugby Club for a place in the Canadian Direct Insurane Premier League League Cup Final and a shot at winning the Rounsfell Cup and a BC Championship, the  best in North America. In the two previous meetings between the sides, the Birds came out on top winning 46-29 in November and 36-8 in January. These were two outstanding results of a season in which UBC has finished top of the Premier Standings and the coaches and players know it will be difficult to win a third game against such strong opponents.

 

In the last month of the season, the Birds performances have lacked consistency and urgency. They will need both on Saturday. Similarly, performances have been hindered to injuries to key personnel, not an excuse for game results but certainly a factor to be considered when evaluating current form.

Burnaby are coming into the game on the back of three wins and a draw, a string of results that saw their club clinch a playoff position on the final day of the season. UBC finished its last four games with a draw, a win and two losses. The injured and unavailable are returning at the right time for the Birds and conflicts with Exams are at a minimum. The starting lineup is as follows:


UBC Thunderbirds 

1: Paul Ahn

2: Alex Mascott

3: Neil Courtney

4: Sam Clark

5: Connor Hamilton

6: Thomas Roche

7: Charlie Thorpe ©

8: Connor Weyell

9: Jorden Sandover-Best

10: Bryan Tyrer

11: Theo Sauder

12: James Thompson

13: Nate Rees

14: Brock Staller

15: Quinton Willms

 

The game will be played at Thunderbird Stadium with the kick off scheduled for 2.45pm. We encourage all of our supporters to come out and cheer on the team.

April 24, 2015

Thunderbirds stay top despite loss to Capilano in regular season finale

Results for Saturday April 18th

CDI Premier League: UBC Thunderbirds 3 @ Capilano 33

Library Square First Division: UBC Braves 15 @ Capilano 27

3rd Division: UBC Totems 22@ Capilano 36


Thunderbirds top the standings of the 2014-2015 CDI League despite defeat to Capilano
With a large number of players injured and rested for the final game of the CDI League season, UBC took to the field as CDI Premier League table leaders. Meanwhile, Capilano began the game knowing nothing but a win would secure the Club a semi-final appearance. The first half was tense for the fans but not overly exciting. Capilano dominated possession, eating up the ground and the clock as the Birds defended confidently. When UBC did manage to get possession, it was only for short periods,which did not allow the visitors to build up any type of continuity. When UBC took the lead through a Liam Murphy-Burke (Semiahamoo) penalty just before the half, it looked as though the Birds had weathered the storm and would come out stronger for the second period.
 

It was the home team however that took the initiative, capitalizing on a long kick and chase and recovering the ball to score in the right corner. The conversion was added to give Capilano a 7-3 lead. UBC then missed a penalty attempt to close the gap, before Caps took complete control running in a further four tries in the last thirty minutes and adding three converts. The final score was 33-5 in favour of Capilano.
 

UBC can take great pride in its achievement of finishing in first place in the CDI League standings. Promoted this year, the players have developed and improved over the course of the season and have been rewarded with a home play-off game for the Rounsfell Cup semifinals.
 

The Braves Fall to Capilano 27-15
The Braves put on a competitive show against the consistently strong Capilano Library Square League team. Behind to an early penalty and unconverted try by the home team, Tom Kanwischer (Handsworth) responded with a penalty before UBC struck again with a great 70 meter individual score from Cam Graham (Merritt). Kanwisher added the conversion to push the Braves into a 10-8 lead. Capilano took the lead just before the half time whistle with an unconverted try to move ahead 13-10.

Capilano turned its consistent pressure into more points in the second half with two additional converted tries before Kanwischer added a late try to close out the scoring 27-15 in favour of the hosts. The Braves now have a week off before the Library Square semifinal on May 2nd.


Upcoming Games

Next weekend sees the Birds entertain Burnaby Lake in the Rounsfell Cup Semi Final:

April 25th
UBC Thunderbirds v Burnaby Lake, KO 2.45pm at Thunderbird Stadium

May 2nd
Library Square First Division Semi Final: UBC Braves @ Burnaby Lake RFC, KO 1.00pm

April 20, 2015

Birds draw with CW, reclaim first place in CDI Premier League table

Results for Saturday April 11th

CDI Premier League: UBC 25 v CW 25

Library Square First Division: UBC 64 v CW 10

Lower Mainland 3rd Division: UBC 22 v Kats 29

 

For this weekend’s games against CW and Kats, UBC Rugby players celebrated the contribution made by their High School Teams and Coaches. The players donned their school socks for the games and hosted as many of their coaches that could make the games at the Gerald McGavin Pavilion. Dave Brown, General Manager of the Rugby Program, explained: “This was a great way for the Program and the players to recognize the impact that our schools and their coaches have on developing the talent that comes up to UBC on an annual basis.”
 

Birds draw against Castaway Wanderers 
The Birds produced an inconsistent performance against the visiting Castaway Wanderers playing a brand of exciting and expansive rugby mixed with some frustrating periods of undisciplined and lackluster effort. Early pressure from the kickoff was rewarded with a penalty which Brock Staller (Kistsilano) converted. This was followed by a well-executed lineout drive from which Sam Clark (Kitslano) scored. Down 8-0 and on the back foot, CW got back into the game when UBC were penalized for being unnecessarily offside when chasing an excellent Theo Sauder (St George’s) clearance. CW converted to close the gap to 8-3.  Over the next twenty minutes the home team continued the pattern of wasting its own opportunities and giving away needless penalties to its opponents who played patiently to keep the score close.
 

After threatening to break the game open on a number of occasions, UBC finally broke from a scrum in its own twenty-two with the ball being shipped wide to Staller who sliced through the defence on the right before releasing James Thompson (Dromore) to score at the posts. Staller converted to stretch UBC’s lead to 15-3. The next score for the Birds followed almost immediately from another scrum. This time they exposed the CW defence on the left with Staller the architect again as passed off to Eric Hunter-James (Rockridge) who took the play almost to the CW line before offloading to Quinton Willms (Earl Marriott) who then sent the supporting Jorden Sandover-Best (Robert Bateman) over for the score and a 20-3 lead. With time winding down, the ever patient CW launched a series of attacks in the UBC twenty-two before scoring on a short yardage drive in the left corner to reduce the deficit to 20-8 at the break.
 

The Birds looked to have put the game away immediately after the break when Connor Weyell (Handsworth) pick off an errant CW pass to score on the right. At 25-8, UBC looked to be in full control. The context of the game changed dramatically as the home team began to turn over possession and lose composure in the face of opposition pressure while yellow cards to Charlie Thorpe (Vancouver College) and Sauder compounded the situation. CW slowly clawed its way back into the game. Two converted tries brought the score to 25-22 before a penalty tied the game. The visitors continued to press and two late penalty attempts were missed, allowing the home team to escape with a draw.

As a result of this draw and the surprise defeat of the Vikes to the Ravens, UBC reclaim top spot in the CDI League on percentage but can move into an absolute overall points win with a single point from its last game at Capilano on April 18th.
 

Braves in Convincing Win over CW in the Library Square League
The Braves started off quickly against CW with Canada U20 center Phil Berna (St George’s) crossing in the first minute. Tom Kanwischer (Handsworth) converted to give the home team a 7-0 lead. UBC continued to impress with a fluent display of rugby throughout the half with tries coming to Canada U20 winger Karsten Leitner (St George’s), full back Nick Collett (Southridge) and two for scrum half Ben McKinnon (Shawnigan Lake). Kanwischer added a further three conversions to put the Braves up 33-0. CW added a try just before the half time whistle to make it 33-5.
 

The home side continued to assert itself after the break with further scores for Berna, James Carson (Oak Bay), Nolan Howell (Hugh McRoberts) and three for Nick Allen (Mulgrave).  Kanwischer continued his fine kicking form with three more conversions. The visitors showed great determination to compete and scored one more try to make the final score 62-10 for UBC. The win keeps the Braves in fourth spot in the Library Square League with the likely semi-final at Burnaby Lake on April 25th.
 

Totems Show How Far They Have Progressed In Close Loss to Kats
At the start of season the Totems lost 63-3 to Kats at Balaclava Park. At home in the reverse fixture, they competed from the onset and pushed Kats all the way in a competitive 22-29 loss. UBC started off strongly and was unlucky not to take an early lead when Ben Rebalski (Carson Graham) hit the post with a penalty kick. Rupert Peers (Elgin Park) then scored a fine opening individual effort for the home side and with Rebalski converting UBC were up 7-0. Kats responded with a forward drive and scored to make it 7-5 before Haward Mulundi (Carson Graham) continued his fine form with a try, converted again by Rebalski. At 14-5, Rebalski added a penalty to stretch the lead to 17-5. Kats added a converted try of its own to make the score 17-12 at the half for UBC.
 

Kats used this late momentum to fight back further in the opening fifteen minutes of the second half scoring three tries and one conversion to take a 17-29 lead. Full Back Jon Maderson (West Vancouver) pulled a score back for UBC to reduce the gap to 22-29 which remained the final result. This was another determined effort by the Totems and showed the massive steps they have taken in developing during the course of the season. The loss, unfortunately, eliminates them from the final four for playoffs in the Lower Mainland Division Three League.

Next Games at Klahanie Park in North Vancouver

Next weekend is April 18th
CDI Premier League: Birds @ Capilano, KO 2.45pm
Library Square League: Braves @ Capilano, KO 1.00pm
3rd Division: Totems @ Capilano, KO 11.30am

April 12, 2015

UBC go back to ‘School Days’ against CW and Kats

For this weekend’s games against Castaway Wanderers and Kats, UBC Rugby players will be celebrating the contribution made by their High School Teams and Coaches. 

The players will be wearing their school socks for the games and will be hosting as many of their coaches afterwards.

Dave Brown, General Manager of the Rugby Program explained: “This is a great way for the Program and the players to recognize the impact that our schools and their coaches have on developing the talent that comes up to UBC on an annual basis.”

The games on Saturday start with the Totems kicking off against Kats in the Mainland Division Three at 11.30am. This is followed by the Braves’ game against CW in the Library Square League at 1.00pm. The final game will see the Birds play CW in the CDI League at 2.45pm.

All games will be played at Thunderbird Stadium. Hosting will follow at the Gerald McGavin Pavilion at the conclusion of games.

April 9, 2015

Birds sink Rowers, secure home semifinal fixture

Results for Saturday, March 28th

CDI Premier League: UBC 37 @ Rowers 24

Library Square First Division: UBC 33 @ Rowers 14

Lower Mainland 3rd Division: UBC 24 @ Rowers 31

 

Game Reports
 

Birds secure home field CDI League Semifinal with Win over Rowers

With six players out with injury and a further six on duty with Canada U20’s, the ‘Birds looked to get back on the winning track at Brockton Oval after two consecutive league defeats.

With the UBC forwards showing some early control at both scrums and line-outs, it was no surprise when they scored the opening try. Thomas Roche (St John’s Ravenscourt) and Erik Hunter-James drove the ball up the center of field before the attack was moved quickly for Neil Courtney (Handsworth) to score on the right. Brock Staller (Kitsilano) converted to give the Birds an early 7-0 lead.

 

Rowers levelled the scores shortly after when they made the most of UBC’s offside indiscretion at the contact point by scoring from a quick tap penalty. The Birds continued to infringe at the contact area, giving away penalties and position before Charlie Thorpe (Vancouver College) paid the price with a yellow card.  Rowers converted the penalty and took a 10-7 lead. UBC’s response was immediate. Jorden Sandover-Best (Robert Bateman) broke the home team’s line, darting forty meters before giving the supporting Cully Quirke (West Vancouver) the easiest of scores at the posts. Staller converted and the Birds were up 14-10. Rowers profited again from UBC’s poor discipline when they kicked deep into the twenty two from a penalty and then crossed for the try following the line-out. The convert gave the home team a 17-14 lead at the half.
 

The Birds regained the lead for good early in the second half when Bryan Tyrer (Hugh McRoberts) made a telling break from inside his own 22. The movement was carried on by Sandover-Best who passed back to Tyrer who then found prop Paul Ahn (Yale) in support for the score. Staller failed with the convert but added a penalty to push the visitors out to a 22-17 lead. Following a poor Rower’s clearance, the ‘Birds stretch the lead to 27-17 when Connor Weyell (Handsworth) scored after good lead up work form Quirke and Sam Clark (Kitsilano).
 

With just over tem minutes to go, Rowers closed the gap to 27-24 before Tyrer crossed to settle the game in UBC’s favour. Staller converted and added a late penalty to give the Bird’s a 37-24 bonus point win. The victory secured UBC a home game CDI semifinal for the playoffs. UBC currently sit in second place, three points behind the University of Victoria with a game in hand.

 

Braves Defeat Rowers to secure Playoff Position in the Library Square League

The Braves started quickly against Rowers with Nick Allen (Mulgrave) crossing on the right. Tom Kanwischer (Handsworth) converted to give the visitors a 7-0 lead. Kanwischer added three more penalties to cap off solid pressure from the Braves, pushing the lead to 16-0 just before the break before the home team closed the gap to 16-7 with a score. UBC continued to control the game in the second half with Kanwischer extending the lead to 19-7 with his fourth penalty goal. Mike O’Toole (Seaquam) then added a try for the Braves following a break by scrum half Ben McKinnon (Shawnigan Lake). Kanwischer tacked on the conversion to make the score 26-7. Ryan Singleton (Rockridge) scored the Braves’ final try and Kanwischer converted once more to take his tally to 18 points and to give UBC a 33-7 lead. Rowers scored a consolation try to make the final score 33-14 for the Braves and secure the final fourth position playoff position in the Library Square League.

 

Totems Stay Close in Defeat to Rowers
Rowers started strongly against the Totems, applying consistent pressure right from the opening kick off. UBC , however, took the lead following a remarkable half field solo effort from back rower James McKenzie (St Thomas Moore) which Haydn Melin (Williams Lake) converted. The home team then continued to batter the Totems’ defense with the visitors heroically defending series of eight, nine and ten phases. Rowers scored on two occasions, including one right at the half time whistle as well as adding two conversion and penalty to take a 17-7 half time lead.

The second half continued in the same vein with the home team extending its lead to 31-7 after just 15 minutes. The Braves then mounted a furious comeback.

Marshall Fremlin (Shawnigan Lake) was first to score at the back of the line-out (12-31) before Haward Mullundi (Carson Graham) made a mazy break, going from right and then to left, before off-loading for Melin to power over and add the convert and close the gap to 19-31. Then, following a right field line out, Aarman Bondar (Gleneagle) crossed at the left corner to reduce the score to 24-31, as well as giving UBC a bonus point fourth try and a further potential bonus point for being within seven points in a losing position.
 

The Totems pushed hard to score again but finished up losing 24-31 while still maintaining hope for a playoff spot with two game remaining.
 

Next Games at Thunderbird Stadium - April 11th, 2015
CDI Premier League: Birds v Castaway Wanderers, KO 2.45pm
Library Square League: Braves v Castaway Wanderers, KO 1.00pm
3rd Division: Totems v Kats, KO 11.30am

 

March 28, 2015

UBC Rugby seats available at Gerald McGavin Pavilion

For your $1,000.00 donation, your seat will be permanently in place at the Gerald McGavin Rugby Pavilion.
 

Alumni who have already contributed include:
Gerald and Sheahan McGavin (2 Seats), Ken Mahon, Adera Development Company, Ian Robertson, David J. McFarlane, Shirley A. McFarlane, Allan McGavin, Brian McGavin, Barrie and Helen Burnham, , Buzz Moore, Stuart Clyne, Michael Bull, Peter Bull, Spence McTavish, Barry Leigh, Don Spence, Max Howell, Greg Obertas, The Obertas Family, Wendy Hamilton, Andrew, Wendy and Connor Hamilton, Pat and Tee Burke, ‘Go Birds Go.’
 

New subscribers at the Spence McTavish Dinner include:
Dean Geros, Mel Reeves, Brooke Campbell, Andrew Bibby, Rick Bourne, Donald Carson, Jim Carson, Frank Carson, Dennis Carson, Leonard Carson and Jim Douglas
 

Cheques should be made payable to UBC with ‘Rugby Pavilion Seats’ in the memo line

Let’s fill the seats with plaques at the Gerald McGavin Pavilion!
Contact Dave Brown at dave.brown@ubc.ca

March 28, 2015

Thunderbirds edged at home but still retain 2015 World Cup

by Andrew Smith

 

VANCOUVER, BC – The UBC Thunderbirds men’s varsity rugby team secured their second consecutive World Cup title on Sunday afternoon by losing an agonizingly close clash against the California Golden Bears by a score of 21-23. The ‘Birds won the title through aggregate scoring, having defeated Cal 19-6 at Witter Rugby Field back on February 7th. 
 

The match was full of hearth thumping, running rugby, and when graduating UBC fly half Bryan Tyrer crashed through for a 79th minute try to make it 21-20 for the home side, a storybook ending for the senior appeared to be in the cards.
 

But on the ensuing kick off, Cal kicked the ball high and long where UBC forward Michael O’Toole appeared to cleanly catch the ball leaving just seconds to play out the clock. But a penalty was whistled immediately as a UBC team mate was called for obstruction, having crossed in front of the ball catcher and preventing the Cal defence from making a clean tackle. Cal full back Jake Anderson stepped up and was able to drown out the boisterous crowd behind him to smoothly convert the penalty for the 23-21 win.

 

Cal players rushed the field and despite not having secured the trophy, were thrilled to defeat a team that had held them try-less on their own pitch just weeks ago.


“I’m disappointed, upset with the result,” Tyrer said after the match. “This is the biggest game of the season for us. It’s great to play in front of a crowd in the stadium against a team that plays that physical style of rugby.”

 

UBC Thunderbirds 21 (40 agg.), Cal Golden Bears 23, (29 agg)

The opening minutes of the match could not have gone worse for the ‘Birds as Tyrer was sent to the bin after hitting a player in the air. Despite being down a man, however, Brock Staller was able to punish the Bears for a late hit on scrum half Jorden Sandover-Best with a short-range penalty for a 3-0 lead.

 

Back at full strength, UBC conceded a try in the 14th minute when a loose ball was stolen by Bears fly half Russell Webb. Anderson would add a penalty four minutes later to make it 8-3.


Cal’s relentless pressure from their back row was evident as UBC found themselves on the back foot for much of the opening 20. In the 24th minute, Cal would score again when the Bears used a heavily loaded blindside to outpace the defence for a try by flanker Carl Hendrickson. With the extras from Anderson, Cal jumped out to a 15-3 lead. 

 

“We knew we would be in for it and that they would do their research,” said UBC assistant coach Curry Hitchborn. “They had a game plan and they stuck to it. They are a good team and they clearly capitalized on our mistakes.”

 

UBC centre Brock Staller would miss a long penalty soon after, before making up for the miss through a highlight-reel worthy try in the 34th minute. The UBC backline spun the ball wide and Staller unloaded to full back Quinton Willms. Willms made a break before chipping towards the try line. At full pace, Staller dashed towards the goal line, smashing the ball down with one hand for the crucial score. After collecting himself and setting his tee for a difficult conversion, Staller stepped up to add the extras and closed the gap to 10-15.

 

The second half scoring opened in the 46th minute when Cal’s forwards were penalized for not rolling away. Tyrer made the most of the opportunity, converting the score to make it 13-15. Just minutes later, Tyrer would hit the post on a penalty attempt from 39 metres out.   

Things did not get easier for the ‘Birds as second row Sam Clark was sent to the bin for a breakdown infraction in the 56th minute. UBC would have another opportunity at the sticks shortly after but Tyrer was unable to find the range.

 

“[Cal] were making a mess of the breakdown and we started to build momentum once we got our phases together,” Staller added. “But [Tyer] and I both left points on the field and missed a couple kicks. We also should have capitalized on the two times we were inside their five [metre lines].”

 

Tyrer was able to put the Thunderbirds in front soon after, kicking a penalty for a tight 16-15 lead.  

 

With 10 minutes to play, Cal responded when centre Harry Adolphus was able capitalize on a chip and chase and dot down to make it 20-16 for the visitors.

 

That set the stage for a dramatic finish as Tyrer provided an edge in the 79th minute. A heart-breaking penalty call saw Cal’s Jake Anderson respond through a game-deciding 80th minute penalty.


“We had our chances,” added UBC’s Curry Hitchborn. “But we get to hang on to the Cup. It stays in Canada, and that’s what is most important.”

 

NEXT GAME: March 28th at Vancouver Rowing Club

After an impressive past two months that has seen the Thunderbirds retain the World Cup against Cal, lift the Las Vegas Sevens Collegiate title as well as the Wightman Boot over the Victoria Vikes, the Thunderbirds will now set their sights on the Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League’s Rounsefell Cup. The ‘Birds are away to Vancouver Rowing Club on Saturday, March 28th for a 2:45pm kickoff. The university side will then face the Castaway Wanderers on April 11 and Capilano on April 18 as they look to secure a home playoff fixture in May.    

March 22, 2015

Thunderbirds and Bears to determine 2015 World Cup winner on Sunday

VANCOUVER - The UBC Thunderbirds men’s varsity rugby team will host the Cal Bears this Sunday in the second leg of the storied World Cup at Vancouver’s Thunderbird Stadium. Named after the Vancouver World newspaper, the home-and-away series is determined by an overall aggregate score. 

 

Match Info: 

1:00pm, Sun. March 22nd, Cal Bears at UBC Thunderbirds (Thunderbird Stadium, Vancouver)

 

Current title holders UBC are fresh off their first away win at Witter Rugby Field in over a decade, having held the Bears try-less on their home field on February 7th. The decisive 19-6 result means the Birds will have a 13-point advantage heading into Sunday’s clash.

 

The Bears are coming off a 106-0 win over Santa Clara University last weekend and have welcomed back co-Captain Alex Gletzer to their lineup. Cal will be looking for a strong showing against UBC before heading into their regular season finale against St. Mary’s on March 28 in Strawberry Canyon. 

 

“Cal is the kind of team that can hurt you both in the forwards and in the backs. We have to be prepared to meed them with the same athleticism,” said UBC Head Coach Rameses Langston. “Cal plays with their own brand of rugby and it doesn’t matter who their opponent is. They won’t make many mistakes and will be a physical side.” 

 

UBC are currently top of BC’s Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League and in January successfully defended back-to-back Wightman Boot titles against Canadian university rivals Uvic Vikes. The ‘Birds lifted the Las Vegas Invitational College 7s title in February and recently finished as runner-ups at the Canadian University Sevens in March. The program has faired well in recent weeks juggling national team call ups and injuries to key players.

 

“We are always ready for games like this,” added Langston. “If you are doing the right things with your program, it doesn’t matter who is in and out of the lineup as it shouldn’t affect you playing at the highest level. A lot of credit has to go to our coaches Luke Gray, Curry Hitchborn and Dave Brown for what he’s done managing the program. Because of the pieces we have in place, we see this as an opportunity for a number of guys to be given chances to rise to the challenge.” 

 

On Saturday night, before the Thunderbirds host their American rivals on the field, UBC Rugby will be recognizing a figure who spent years squaring off against the Bears as a player and coach. Spence McTavish, more commonly referred to as ‘Spike’ in rugby circles, retired this past summer before handing the reigns over to Langston and his staff. The new coaching team, players and alumni are keen to recognize him at a formal event on Saturday, March 21st.

 

“I would compare Spike’s influence on our program to what Coach Jack Clark has done with the Bears at Cal. No matter who comes into their programs, they will have left lasting impressions,” Langston added. “Spike is UBC Rugby. No matter who comes here, we are able to see the influence of his legacy. We are looking forward to recognizing what he has done for UBC Rugby.” 

 

An Evening to Honour Spence McTavish:

The formal dinner to honour Spence McTavish and his massive contribution to the UBC Rugby Program will be held on Saturday, March 21st at UBC Golf Club. Tickets will be $150.00 and can be ordered by contacting Dave Brown at dave.brown@ubc.ca

 

There is now a registration page for the Dinner where you can sign up for your tickets. CLICK HERE

 

March 16, 2015

UBC falls to UVic in University 7s Cup Final

VICTORIA, BC - For the second consecutive year, the UBC Thunderbirds came up on the wrong end of the score line in a tense CIS Rugby Sevens National Final in Langford. UBC lost to the University of Victoria Vikes on the last play of the game as the buzzer sounded.


The Birds had moved to the semi-final stages with ease, outscoring the opposition 171-0. The semi-final was a tense affair as the Birds overcame the University of Victoria second string 24-21 and the Final itself proved to be even more absorbing. The following Mark Janzen report is taken from the Rugby Canada website.
 

Rugby Canada Match Report
 

LANGFORD, British Columbia – In a rematch of last year’s championship bout, the University of Victoria Vikes men’s 7s side once again got the best of the UBC Thunderbirds as the Vikes captured the National University 7s Rugby Championship with a thrilling 17-12 win Saturday at Westhills Stadium.

With the score on even terms at 12-12 in the late stages of the second half, Victoria’s Doug Fraser played the role of championship hero as he scored the game-winning try as the clock hit zeroes.

The victory gives the Vikes their second straight national title, having knocked off UBC by a 24-19 count in last year’s championship tilt.

After UBC’s Charlie Thorpe tied the contest in the latter part of the second half, the Vikes took possession and systematically drove down the pitch to set up what would be the winning try.

Canadian national team regular Lucas Hammond sliced through the middle of the park, drawing defenders, and dumped it off to Fraser, who, after momentarily juggling the ball, wheeled around the outside to put the Vikes into victory lane.

Fraser’s winning try, which was his second of the match, was a fitting bit of redemption as he was shown a yellow card early in the first half and was forced to watch UBC score its first try of the game from the sin bin.

The Thunderbirds got on the board first when Jorden Best was Johnny on the Spot early in the first half, capitalizing on the extra man to tally the opening try.

After a staunch defensive effort from the Vikes on their own line, Victoria earned a five-metre scrum. However, after the Vikes snatched the ball back, Best jumped on the loose ball to score the game’s first points and put UBC up 7-0.

The Thunderbirds try was the first points given up by Victoria in the tournament.

The Vikes responded with just over three minutes left in the first half on a valiant effort from Luke McCloskey that saw him race down the right wing and, despite tweaking his hamstring during the run, power through to the line for a Victoria try.

After trailing 7-5 at the break, the Vikes took its first lead of the match early in the second half as it was the Hammond and Fraser combination striking off the left wing. A great run by Hammond put Victoria inside UBC territory and then a perfect offload sent Fraser in alone to give the Vikes a 12-7 edge.

However, a second yellow card Victoria – this time for an intentional knock-on – put Victoria down a man and the Thunderbirds took advantage.

Running from left to right, Thorpe cut back to his left and, with Victoria’s Fraser down on the pitch and seemingly injured, the Thunderbird navigated the five-man Vikes defence to even the score line.

That set up the Fraser’s late-game dramatics that sent the Vikes into the winner’s circle.

Victoria came into the championship tilt having won five games in a row and having outscored its opposition 227-0. In the semifinals, the Vikes knocked off Queen’s 34-0.

UBC also had an impressive run leading up to the Cup Final as the Thunderbirds went 4-0 through the round robin and quarter-finals, out-scoring their opposition 171-0. The Thunderbirds earned their spot in the final with a 24-21 semifinal win over the UVic Norsemen.

Men’s Results:
Shield Winners – Royal Military College
Bowl Winners – University of Calgary
Plate Winners – McMaster Marauders
Cup Winners – UVIC Vikes

Men’s Dream Team:
Dustin Dobravsky (UVIC)
Theo Sauder (UBC)
Luke McCloskey (UVIC)
Nate Rees (UBC)
Jordan Sandover-Best (UBC)

Andrew Ferguson (McMaster)
Sam Jefferies (UBC)

The results over the two days were as follows:
Day 1
UBC men. Game 1 vs RMC. UBC 43 - RMC 0.
UBC men. Game 2 vs Mount Royal. UBC 45 – Mount Royal 0.
UBC men. Game 3 vs UBCO. UBC 31 – UBCO 0.

Day 2
UBC men. Game 4 Quarter Final vs Waterloo. UBC 52 – Waterloo 0.
UBC men. Game 5 Semi Final vs University of Victoria (2). UBC 24 – University of Victoria (2) 21.
UBC men Game 6 Final vs University of Victoria. UBC 12 – University of Victoria 17.

Jorden Sandover-Best (Robert Bateman) led all team scoreers with 54 points while Theo Sauder was joint top try scorer with 10 tries.

The Thunderbuird squad was as follows:
 UBC Thunderbirds Squad: Charlie Thorpe (Vancouver College), Sam Jeffries (Plume), Brock Staller (Kitsilano), Phil Berna (St George’s) Erik Hunter-James (Rockridge), Nick Allen (Mulgrave), Cole Keffer (Sutherland), Nate Rees (Porth County) Jorden Sandover-Best (Robert Bateman) Liam Murphy-Burke (Semiahmoo), Quinton Willms (Earl Marriott), Theo Sauder (St George’s)

Full scores and statistics: www.canadianuniversity7s.com
Watch the archived games: www.rugbycanada.tv

 

Totems lose a close game to Kamloops
Back in October, the Totems traveled to Kamloops and came away losing 74-25. The game on Saturday showed the improvement this team has made over the course of the season. Matching Kamloops in physicality, UBC competed throughout the game which was in doubt until the final minute. The Kamloops kicker (who went 60 for 6 on the day) had put the visitors in front 6-0 before Rupert Peers (Earl Marriott) reduce the score to 5-6 after the Totems had recovered their own deep kick off. Kamloops regained the lead 9-6 before Peers scored again to give UBC a 10-9 half time lead.

The visitors started the second half by capitalising on a UBC handling error and moved in front 16-10 on a converted try. A further penalty goal widened the gap to 19-10. Chris Rey (La Bocage International School, Mauritius) reduced the gap to 13-19 with a penalty goal for the Totems with ten minutes of the game remaining. Despite pushing Kamloops close as time wound down, UBC was unable to find the winning score and a beak away score in overtime saw the visitors run out 26-13 winners

The Totems currently sit in 6th spot in Pool A, just 3 points from a play-off position. The next game is away at Scribes on March 14th

Next Home Games
The next home games will be on March 22nd when the Birds take on Berkeley in the 2nd leg of the World Cup Game at Thunderbird Stadium with a 1.00pm kick off.

An Evening to Honour Spence McTavish:
We have finalized the venue for the Formal Dinner to honour Spence McTavish and his massive contribution to the UBC Rugby Program. The event will be held at the UBC Golf Club on March 21st with the home World Cup Game against Berkeley to follow on March 22nd.Tickets will be $150.00 and can be ordered by contacting Dave Brown at dave.brown@ubc.ca

There is now a registration page for the Dinner where you can sign up for your ticket.The link is below.
https://www.donate.startanevolution.ca/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1730&ea.campaign.id=31810

We look forward to seeing you at this great event.

2015 Schedule
January 16th: @ Vikes – won 23-19

January 31st: v Burnaby Lake – won 36-8

February 7th @ Berkeley - won 19-6

February 13th/14th: Las Vegas Sevens - Winners

February 21st: v JBAA – Lost 17-27

February 28th: @ Ravens – Lost 26-27

March 7th/8th: CIS Sevens @ Langford - Finalists

March 22nd: v Berkeley

March 28th: @ Rowers

April 11th: v CW
April 18th: @ Capilano

March 6, 2015

UBC Rugby to host Dinner in Honour of Spence McTavish

UBC Rugby Club will be hosting a formal dinner to honour Spence McTavish and his massive contribution to UBC Rugby.
The event will be held at the UBC Golf Club on Saturday, March 21st with the second leg of the World Cup Game against Berkeley to follow on Sunday, March 22nd. Tickets will be $150.00 and can be ordered by contacting Dave Brown at dave.brown@ubc.ca

 

PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS HERE
 

Places for the dinner are going fast and anyone interested in attending should have their request for tickets in by March 16th.  Tickets can be purchased individually or by the table (8 or 10 per table). Included at the Dinner will be a number of guest speakers along with a full live and silent auction.

 

Spence McTavish spent almost three decades on the Point Grey campus, six years as a student and 22 as an assistant coach, head coach and director. In between his first arrival at UBC and his return as a coach, the man nicknamed "Spike" became one of this country's greatest rugby players.
 


"It's time," says McTavish. "It's much like when I retired from teaching, it sort of comes up on you and it just says, 'Hey, it's time for you to move on.' " … to read the full article see Retirement News Release.

 

To read more about Spence’s career, please explore the following links:

BC Sports Hall of Fame

UBC Sports Hall of Fame

Go Thunderbirds / Coaches

 

Please join us for dinner to celebrate (and roast) Spence’s retirement on Saturday, March 21, 2015 at 7:00 pm.

Location: University Golf Club, 5185 University Boulevard, Vancouver

Cost: $150 ($100 tax receiptable), all proceeds to Men’s Rugby

March 5, 2015

Ravens' second half rally denies Birds victory

Results for Saturday February 28th

Birds 26 @ Ravens 27

Braves 36 @ Ravens 17

Ridge Meadows 22 @ Totems 18

 

Ravens' Second Half Rally Denies Birds Victory
The Thunderbirds gave up a 26-10 half team lead to drop a second consecutive game in the CDI Premier League this past Saturday. The home team started off strong and within two minutes had penetrated the UBC line to score under the posts.

The Birds responded with a deep attack down the left flank only for the movement to stop when the ball was knocked forward close to the Raven’s line. Not long after the visitors mounted a counter attack from a Ravens’ clearance. Quinton Willms (Earl Marriott) began the movement which was carried on by Connor Weyell (Handsworth), Manar Kulkhan (Port Moody) and Bryan Tyrer (Hugh McRoberts) before Brock Staller (Kitsilano) was sent in at the left corner. Tyrer converted to tie the score at -7-7. UBC continued to launch a series of deep attacks and were unfortunate not to score on two more occasions as unforced errors kept the score tied.
 

The Ravens eventually took the lead when they converted a penalty after 30 minutes of play before the Birds exploded for three scores in the final ten minutes of the half. First, the Ravens turned the ball over coming out of their twenty-two and the ball was shifted right for Nate Rees (Porth County) to break the line and score on the right and put UBC in front 12-10. Next, from a left field scrum, Weyell and Jorden Sandover-Best (Robert Bateman) combined to send Staller away for his second score of the game. Tyrer converted to extend the lead to 19-10. Finally, with time running down, Staller intercepted an errant Ravens’ pass and initiated a counter attack that was carried on by Rees who kicked ahead for Sandover-Best to score by the posts. Tyrer converted again and UBC pushed the lead to 26-10 at the break.
 

The Birds looked to have extended this lead immediately from the restart when Staller broke up the left flank before the ball was shipped right for the supporting Sam Jeffries (Plume) to score by the posts. The play was brought back for a forward pass in the movement and from this point on, Ravens began to get back into the game with the aid of some poor discipline from the Birds. Finding themselves on the wrong side of the Referee’s decisions, UBC gave away some penalties which gave the home team momentum and when Tyrer was carded on the 15 minute mark, the game turned quickly in favour of the home team. Two converted scores in the space of 10 minutes saw the UBC lead whittled down to 26-24. When UBC were penalized at a maul, Ravens took the lead for good with a converted penalty goal, and despite a late miss from Staller, the Birds went down 26-27.
 

Even with the loss, the Birds remain in first place in the CDI League standings with 40 points, thanks to the two bonus points they picked up in the close defeat. University of Victoria remain in second place, four points back but with a game in hand, while Capilano sit in third place, six points back with two games in hand.
 

Braves Continue to Improve in the Library Square League with a Win against Ravens
Following the win against James Bay, the Braves put together another consistent performance to solidify their fourth place position in the Library Square League. Down to an early penalty goal, Nick Collett (Southridge) scored a great individual counter attack try from full back to push the Braves into a lead they would never relinquish. Wes Wong (Shawnigan Lake) added the conversion to extend the lead to 7-3. The next score came when Cully Quirke (West Vancouver) intercepted a pass and drove to the Ravens’ line. From the ruck, the ball was moved right for Cam Graham (Merritt) to score. Wong’s conversion made it 14-3. Graham scored his second try before the half ended when he collected a twenty two meter drop out at the half way line and barreled through the first line of defence before slicing through the last two defenders to score a remarkable individual effort. Wong’s third conversion made it 21-3 for the Braves. The home team still had time to respond with a converted try to make it 21-10 at half time.
 

The bonus point try came shortly into the second half when Tyler Hergott (St Mary’s) sent Gre Smith (Windsor) away on the right to score in the corner and make it 26-10. Ravens came back again to stay in contention at 26-17. Smith put the game beyond reach with his second when he gathered a James Carson (Oak Bay) kick through following a turn-over ball at a tackle. Then Tyler Hergott added the final try, picking up at the base of a ruck and forcing himself across the Ravens’ line.
 

The 36-17 victory leaves the Braves in a commanding fourth spot position with their next game against fifth place Rowers to come.
 

Totems Lose a Close Encounter with Ridge Meadows
The Totems got their season underway again with a home game against Ridge Meadows. Playing inconsistently in the first half the Totems found themselves down 5-10 with the only score coming from a great supporting run from Hayward Mulundi (Carson Graham). The home team won the second half 13-12 but ended up losing the game 22-18. Their next game will be against the strong team from Kamloops.
 

Next Games
The next games will be on March 7th when the Totems take on Kamloops at home and the Sevens team participates in the CIS Event at Langford on March 6th and 7th.
 

An Evening to Honour Spence McTavish:

We have finalized the venue for the Formal Dinner to honour Spence McTavish and his massive contribution to the UBC Rugby Program. The event will be held at the UBC Golf Club on March 21st with the home World Cup Game against Berkeley to follow on March 22nd.Tickets will be $150.00 and can be ordered by contacting Dave Brown at dave.brown@ubc.ca
 

We are just waiting on the Development Office to finalize online payment options and details. As soon as we get this information, we will send it out. This information will be available by March 4th.
 

March 2, 2015

Thunderbirds fall to James Bay, hold on to first place in CDI Premier

Results for Saturday February 21st
 

Thunderbirds Lose to James Bay

The Thunderbirds gave up their unbeaten CDI home game record against defending BC Premier League champions James Bay.

The visors started off well and scored in the corner after just 3 minutes. UBC responded immediately when James Bay kicked the restart reception deep. The counter attack in midfield was shifted right where Quinton Willms (Earl Marriott) broke the line before offloading in the tackle to Theo Sauder (St George’s) who rounded the full back to score out wide. Brock Staller (Kitsilano) added the conversion to give the Birds a 7-5 lead.

James Bay then kicked a penalty to move back in front 8-7 before a concerted UBC attack saw Nate Rees (Porth County) break the tackle line and give the scoring pass to Sam Clark (Kitsilano). With the conversion failing, the Birds lead was 12-8. The visitors’ response was quick, and from a line drive on the left, their forwards attacked close before their stand-off broke a tackle to score by the posts. The convert pushed James Bay out to a 20-12 lead.
 

UBC continued to create scoring opportunities but a number of unforced errors resulted in missed opportunities to close the gap. Meanwhile, James Bay controlled the ball well and continually forced the play into the UBC half. As the half time whistle approached, an errant throw at a UBC line-out gave James Bay a final chance to pressure the UBC defence. A bonus point try resulted, and with the conversion, the lead stretched to 21-12.
 

As the second half resumed, James Bay continued to play tight and controlled rugby. They won their own ball at the front of the line out consistently and pressured the UBC scrum at all times, keeping the Birds on the back foot.

UBC improved its defensive structure and worked the ball away from the sets quickly. As a result, the home team made a number of telling breaks which were terminated by unforced errors.

Eventually, from a scrum in its own twenty two, Rees broke the tackle line again and found Sauder in support. Sauder outpaced the James Bay defence to score in the corner and reduce the lead to 27-17. The score remained the same as the game came to its conclusion. For the second time this season, the Birds competed against the champions but came away without a bonus point of any kind. They stay in first place in the CDI with four games remaining.
 

Braves Back on Track with Win in the Library Square League
Having lost the first two games of the second half of the season, it was imperative that the Braves get back in the win column to maintain a hold on the fourth and final play-off position in the Library Square League.

After just five minutes Nick Allen (Mulgrave) gave the home team an advantage that it would never relinquish. Minutes later, following quick turn over ball, winger Tyler Hergott (St Marys) crossed to make it 10-0. James Bay responded by applying pressure in the Braves’ twenty two meter zone only for Pat Zuk (Grand Prairie High) to counter ruck and kick the ball on. Cole Keffer (Sutherland) followed up with a deft kick and chase to score and give the Braves a 15-0 lead.
 

Flanker Nakai Penny (Penticton High) was next to cross the line for the unconverted bonus point try. With James Bay pressing again, Hergott intercepted and bullied his way past defenders for fifty meters before passing off to Phil Berna (St George’s) who scored by the posts. Wes Wong (Shawnigan Lake) added the convert for a 27-0 lead. Hergott was prominent in the next score as he flicked a wayward pass behind him off his heel to his hands before taking off on another long run which saw Mark Cheong (NWCSEA) score and Wong add his second convert. As the half time approached Greg Smith (Windsor) scored and Wong his third conversion to give the Braves a commanding 41-0 lead.
 

James Bay responded in the second half with two converted tries to close the gap to 41-14. With UBC emptying its bench, its own play was less fluid and Gavin Stephen (Brentwood) was the only Brave to cross the line. A 46-14 victory leaves the Braves in fourth spot with two important games against Ravens and fifth place Rowers to come.
 

Next Games
The next games will be on February 28th when the Birds and Braves travel to Jericho to play the Ravens in CDI and Library Square League play while the Totems will host Ridge Meadows. Games will begin at 11.30am with the Totems’ game at UBC while the Braves and Birds will be scheduled to start at 1.00pm and 2.45pm respectively.
 

An Evening to Honour Spence McTavish:

We have finalized the venue for the Formal Dinner to honour Spence McTavish and his massive contribution to the UBC Rugby Program. The event will be held at the UBC Golf Club on March 21st with the home World Cup Game against Berkeley to follow on March 22nd.Tickets will be $150.00 and can be ordered by contacting Dave Brown at dave.brown@ubc.ca
 

We are just waiting on the Development Office to finalize payment options and details. As soon as we get this information, we will send it out.

February 23, 2015

Thunderbirds win 2015 Las Vegas Invitational Collegiate Title

by Dave Brown
 

Thunderbirds Win the Las Vegas International Sevens Collegiate Title

The Thunderbirds retained the Las Vegas Sevens Collegiate Title on the weekend with a dominant display over the three days, culminating in a 38-0 win over Brock University in the Cup Final with an aggregate score of 274 points against 5.
 

The results over the three days were as follows:

Day 1

UBC men. Game 1 vs Duke. UBC 38 - Duke 0.
UBC men. Game 2 vs Brock. UBC 28 - Brock 5.
UBC men. Game 3 vs Regis. UBC 62 - Regis 0.

Day 2
UBC men. Game 4 vs Ithica. 58-0.
UBC men. Game 5 vs University of Regina. 50-0.

Day 3
Final: UBC Men. Game 6 vs Brock. 38-0


The final was never in doubt with UBC building up a 24-0 lead. At the final whistle, the score was 38-0: with tries from Sam Jeffries (Plume), Quinton Willms (Earl Marriott), Harjun Gill (St George’s), Liam Murphy-Burke (Semiahmoo), Karsten Leitner (2: St George’s) and four conversions from Murphy-Burke.

Coach Pat Fleck was happy with the performance: “I am really pleased with how the squad performed. We gained valuable game experience and continued to improve our systems. Great preparation for upcoming National CIS Championships in Victoria.”

UBC Thunderbirds Squad: Charlie Thorpe (Vancouver College), Sam Jeffries (Plume), Brock Staller (Kitsilano), Wes Lee (Prince of Wales), Erik Hunter-James (Rockridge), Nick Allen (Mulgrave), Cole Keffer (Sutherland), Harjun Gill (St George’s), Karsten Leitner (St George’s), Liam Murphy-Burke (Semiahmoo), Quinton Willms (Earl Marriott), Tyler Hergott (St Mary’s High).

 

Next Home Games
The next home games will be on February 21st when the Birds and Braves entertain James Bay AA in CDI Premier and Library Square League play, while the Totems will play Ridge Meadows. Games will begin start at 11.30am with the main CDI Game scheduled to start at 2.30pm.

 

ZLC Millennium Breakfast:
Rugby has always been well represented at the annual Millennium Breakfast and we are hoping this year is the same.

Tickets are $200 with the donation portion, $160, matched by UBC and funds placed in the endowment fund for scholarships specifically for rugby players.
 

Tickets for the event, which includes featured speaker Christine Sinclair, can be purchased at www.gothunderbirds.ca by clicking on the breakfast button.

Please come out and support the UBC rugby program on February 24 at the 2015 ZLC Millennium Breakfast.
 

An Evening to Honour Spence McTavish:

We have finalized the venue for the Formal Dinner to honour Spence McTavish and his massive contribution to the UBC Rugby Program. The event will be held at the UBC Golf Club on March 21stwith the home World Cup Game against Berkeley to follow on March 22nd.Tickets will be $150.00 and can be ordered by contacting Dave Brown at dave.brown@ubc.ca
 

We will be sending out information on payment details at the end of this week.

February 18, 2015

UBC defeats Brock in Vegas Cup Final

LAS VEGAS - UBC's men's rugby team successfully defended their Las Vegas Inivitational College 7s title on Saturday afternoon, downing the Brock Badgers 38-0 in the Cup Final at Sam Boyd Stadium. 

UBC had previously recorded their fifth win of the tournament on Friday afternoon, dispatching the University of Regina 50-0 in the Cup Semifinals.

 

The Thunderbirds had downed Brock in the pool rounds by a score of 28-5. UBC were defending champions, having defeated UVic in the 2014 Cup Final at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Las Vegas Invitational -  2015 College 7s
UBC 38 , Duke 0
UBC 28, Brock 5

UBC 62, Regis University 0

Cup Quarterfinal: UBC 59,  Ithaca 0
Cup Semifinal: UBC 50, Regina 0

Cup Final: UBC 38, Brock 0
 
Next match:
CUP FINAL: UBC vs Brock, Sam Boyd Stadium, 6:42pm

Feb 14, 2015

February 7th full recap: Birds edge Bears, Totems fall to Brit Lions

Results for Saturday February 7th

World Cup Game, First Leg at Berkeley:
UBC Thunderbirds 19  University of California Berkeley 6
 

Lower Mainland 3rd Division: UBC Totems 7 @ Brit Lions 12
 

Game Reports
 

Thunderbirds win the World Cup First Leg at Berkeley

The weather in California resembled a day in Vancouver as the Thunderbirds warmed up for the game against Berkeley. Clear skies gave way to showers which cleared up just before kick-off but threatened to reappear throughout the game. Cal coach Jack Clark had claimed Berkeley would be “chucked into the fire” against UBC. It was more a case of being thrown into the storm. Cal started strongly and within the first five minutes UBC had conceded three penalties and was fortunate only to be down 3-0. The Birds weathered this opening onslaught, and would continue to consistently repel the home team’s attack throughout the afternoon.
 

Almost immediately after Cal had taken the lead, UBC finally got the ball and started to create a sustained period of pressure. A first line-out in the right corner was driven to the line only to be stopped when a Cal player failed to roll away from the tackle. The Bird went straight back to the line-out and this time drove the ball over with Connor Hamilton (St George’s) getting the score. Brock Staller (Kitsilano) converted from out wide and UBC were up 7-3. Within minutes UBC were back on the Cal twenty two forcing the home team to knock on at its own line-out. From the resulting Scrum in left field, James Thompson (Drumore) drifted through the Cal defense and offloaded to Harjun Gill (St George’s). Gill was tackled but the Birds recycled the ball quickly for Thompson to attack the blind side, ride the initial tackle and send Quinton Willms (Earl Marriott) in at the corner. Staller converted again and Birds were up 14-3.
 

From the kick off UBC continued to attack and were penalized for not releasing in the tackle. Cal missed the kick and the Birds launched another counter attack on the left with Theo Sauder (St George’s) being sent clear for the line only to be pulled back for a forward pass. The Birds continued to pressure Cal on both sides of the ball only to be penalized and give Cal some relief.  When Thompson was yellow carded for competing for a high ball (and deemed to have taken out the Cal player), the opportunity for the Bears to get back into the game was available. Cal could only convert a single penalty to reduce the score to 14-6 which remained the score at the half.
 

UBC continued the second half controlling the ball at line out, disrupting the opposition ball and having great options on its own throw through Sam Clark (Kitsilano), Sam Jeffries (Plume) and Connor Hamilton. After five minutes it looked as though the Birds had gone a long way to settling the game when a long pass from Nate Rees (Porth County) put Theo Sauder clear on the right to score from the half, only for the Referee to call it back for another forward pass. When Sam Jeffries was issued a yellow card just after the twenty minute mark, it looked as though Cal might have the opening it needed to close the gap. Instead, UBC dug in defensively and continued to force turn overs. From a Cal scrum, Charlie Thorpe (Vancouver College) picked up a poorly channeled ball and released Sauder who outpaced all the cover defense to score on the right. The conversion failed but UBC led 19-6 going into the final ten minutes. UBC finished the game strongly to gain a valuable away win in the first leg of the World Cup series.
 

The Birds will be pleased with many aspects of their game besides the obvious outcome. The line-out functioned almost flawlessly providing the backs with a constant source of quality possession while the scrum recovered from being under early pressure  to get stronger as the game wore on. In fact, UBC’s defensive qualities were prominent throughout the game, frustrating the Cal attack and providing continuous turn over possession from which to launch counter attacking opportunities.

The team will want to address some of the penalty decisions which went against them. It lost the penalty count 14-9 but ended up winning the game 19-6, its first win in Cal since 2004.
 

Highlights of the game can be seen on the ‘This is American Rugby’ website at:

http://www.thisisamericanrugby.com/2015/02/video-highlights-ubc-tops-cal.html?spref=tw

 

Totems Push Brit Lions Close in a 7-12 Loss in the Lower Mainland Third Division

The Totems had a disappointing 12-7 loss against a strong Brit Lions Club in Delta. Brits attacked UBC at the scrum base repeatedly in the first half, and with the Totems not committing fully to the counter ruck often enough, they eventually broke through for two scores and a conversion to lead 12-0.

With the need to commit to the counter ruck emphasised, the Totems began to stop their opponents behind the gain line, turn over possession and and to get the ball to the outside backs where they had a real advantage. UBC continued to win more ball and attacked relentlessly, eventually scoring out wide through winger Terry Lok (Hugh McRoberts). With Nick Collett (Southridge) converting, the score was reduced to 7-12.        
 

When Rupert Peers (Earl Marriott) was carded for blocking a pass when he didn’t retreat quickly enough on a penalty, the Totems found themselves down to 14 players. Regardless, the team still pressed for the equalising score and created two excellent scoring chances, both of which were stifled by the Brit Lions outside defense. UBC continued to take the game into their opponents twenty two as the game wore down and were unfortunate to knock the ball forward at a ruck, after which the referee blew the game up for full time.

 

Next Home Games

The next home games will be on February 21st when the Birds and Braves entertain JBAA in CDI and Ceili’s League play while the Totems will play Ridge Meadows. Games will begin at 11.30am with the main CDI Game scheduled to start at 2.30pm.

 

ZLC Millennium Breakfast:

Rugby has always been well represented at the annual Millennium Breakfast and we are hoping this year is the same.

Tickets are $200 with the donation portion, $160, matched by UBC and funds placed in the endowment fund for scholarships specifically for rugby players.
 

Tickets for the event, which includes featured speaker Christine Sinclair, can be purchased at www.gothunderbirds.ca by clicking on the breakfast button.
 

Please come out and support the UBC rugby program on February 24 at the 2015 ZLC Millennium Breakfast.
 

An Evening to Honour Spence McTavish:

We have finalized the venue for the Formal Dinner to honour Spence McTavish and his massive contribution to the UBC Rugby Program. The event will be held at the UBC Golf Club on March 21stwith the home World Cup Game against Berkeley to follow on March 22nd. Full details on the tickets for the Dinner will be forthcoming. Tickets will be $150.00 and can be ordered by contacting Dave Brown at dave.brown@ubc.ca

February 9, 2015

Thunderbirds take round one of 2015 World Cup in Berkeley

University of California Athletics
 

BERKELEY – The UBC Thunderbirds rugby team defeated California, 19-6, Saturday on Witter Rugby Field as the Thunderbirds scored three tries, kept the Bears in check in wet conditions and exited the contest with a 16-point lead that they will look to maintain in the March 22 rematch for the "World Cup" in UBC.

 

"It was obviously a big step up in competition for us and at times we struggled to adjust to the pressure," said California head coach Jack Clark. "We were both forced into errors and got a bit panicky when we got in behind them a few times. Had we scored a couple of those tries which were one pass away, who knows, maybe we could have made a match of it. But take nothing away from UBC, they were the better team on the day."
 

Cal (6-1, 1-0 PAC) had the first crack at scoring in the opening leg of the two-match series when co-captain Jake Anderson lined up a 32-meter penalty kick, but his attempt was wide to the right. The fullback was able to make good on his next attempt just two minutes later from 25 meters to give the Bears a 3-0 lead.


The Bears faced their first deficit of the spring several minutes after that when UBC (9-1) scored in the right corner and Thunderbirds wing Brock Staller made a difficult conversion to give the visitors a 7-3 advantage. Anderson nailed his next penalty attempt in the 34th minute, but a slew of handling errors stymied the blue and gold almost every time Cal created offensive opportunities.
 

Seven Cal players got their first taste of the "Cup" on Saturday, which will be remembered as a day that got away from the Bears partially by their own doing.

"Errors in open play make it hard to chase the game when you're down," said Anderson. "Obviously we were under more pressure from them than any other opposition this season. The good thing to take away is that we can improve in those facets."
 

"We know how good they are so we had to make sure we were ready for both forward and backline attack. We just came up and kept coming," said UBC head coach Ramses Langston.
 

The Thunderbirds will carry a 16-point advantage going into rematch March 22 in Vancouver, Canada. The winner of the "World Cup," named for the Vancouver World newspaper, goes to the team with the best aggregate score after both contests.

The Scoring Timeline vs. UBC

05:00 Jake Anderson 3

11:00 UBC 5, (Brock Staller) 2

14:00 UBC (Quinton Willms) 5, (Brock Staller) 2

34:00 Jake Anderson 3

Halftime Score: British Columbia 14, California 6

64:00 UBC (Theo Sauder) 5

Final Score: British Columbia 19, California 6

February 7, 2015

Birds roster announced for World Cup clash in Berkeley

BERKELEY, CA – The UBC Thunderbirds have announced their starting lineup for Saturday’s World Cup clash with the Cal Bears, scheduled for 2:00pm kickoff at Witter Rugby Field. The Thunderbirds head into the 95th year of the World Cup series as defending champions but will be looking to edge the Bears on their home field for the first time since 2004.

 

Scheduled for 2:00pm kickoff, the match will be live streamed from Whitter Rugby Field on www.pac-12.com

 

UBC Thunderbirds Roster:

1. Paul Ahn

2. Alex Mascott

3. Neil Courtney

4. Sam Clark

5. Connor Hamilton

6. Sam Jeffries

7. Charlie Thorpe

8. Connor Weyell

9. Jorden Sandover-Best

10. James Thompson

11. Brock Staller

12. Nate Rees

13. Harjun Gill

14. Theo Sauder

15. Quinton Willms 

February 6, 2015

Thunderbirds double up on Burnaby wins, stay top in Premier standings

Thunderbirds double up on Burnaby wins
Birds stay top of CDI Premier League

 

Results for Saturday January 31
CDI Premier League: UBC Thunderbirds 36  Burnaby Lake 8
Ceili’s First Division: UBC Braves 0  Burnaby Lake 23
Lower Mainland 3rd Division: UBC Totems 5 Burnaby Lake 0

 

Game Reports

Thunderbirds do the double over Burnaby, stay first in Premier League standings
The first home game of the season saw the Birds continue their winning ways with a hard fought win over Burnaby Lake Rugby Club. The visitors applied the early pressure but UBC defended with purpose, driving back a strong Burnaby drive at a Line-out.

The first opportunity to score fell to UBC, but the penalty was missed by Brian Tyrer (Hugh McRoberts). Shortly after, James Thompson (Drumore) made the break through the Burnaby line and offloaded inside for Sam Jeffries (Plume) to score. Tyrer added the convert and the birds led 7-0. Burnaby then tried to assert pressure through its pack at both sets and at the contact points, and reduced the score to 7-3. The UBC defence held firm for the most part, constantly using turn over ball to spread the game wide. Tyrer eventually added a penalty to take the score to 10-3 for the home side who weathered a late series of attacks to maintain the advantage at half time.
 

The visitors continued to apply pressure immediately from the restart and reduced the gap to 10-8 when they converted an overload for a score in the left corner. The score seemed to spark the home team into action and on the first foray into the Burnaby half, Thompson took a quick tap and fed Neil Cortney (Handsworth) who carried the movement on up the left flank. Quinton Willms (Earl Marriott) then broke up the center and from the quick ruck ball Thompson glided through the Burnaby defence to score on the right. Brock Staller (Kitsilano) added the conversion to give the Birds a 17-8 lead. The lead was extended almost immediately. The Birds kicked a penalty deep to touch in right field and from there they shifted the ball wide to the left. Charlie Thorpe (Vancouver College) made a strong break and again, following a quick ruck, Staller broke the mid-field defense before Thompson fed full back Theo Sauder (St. George’s) to score. Staller added the convert and Birds were up 24-8.
 

UBC’s bonus point try was almost a mirror image of Sauder’s effort - only on this occasion Nate Rees (Porth County) was on hand to score by the posts after the ball was moved back from the first attack. Staller again converted to push the lead to 31-8. The last ten minutes saw play remain in the Burnaby half. Both Courtney and Thorpe made strong runs before Sauder again broke for the line to feed Jorden Sandover-Best (Robert Bateman) for the final try and a convincing 36-8 victory.  While the UBC backs once again showed off their talents, great credit must go to the pack which matched the big Burnaby forwards in every department, setting up a platform that enabled the whole team to consistently go forward. Next up for the Thunderbirds is the World Cup game in Berkeley.
 

Braves come out flat and lose to Burnaby in the Ceili’s Competition

The Braves started off flat against the strong Burnaby Firsts team. Apart from a couple of long runs from full back Peter Stockton (St. George’s), there was little to cheer about for the home team in the first half as the visitors slowly but surely took control of most areas of the game, stifling the UBC attack while scoring two tries, a conversion and a penalty to take a 15-0 lead into the break. UBC tried hard to break Burnaby in the second half but could not find a way through the visitor’s stingy defense. Burnaby added a try and another penalty and ran out 23-0 winners.  The Braves now have two weeks before they face James Bay and work to re-establish some momentum in the Ceili’s League.

 

Totems take the win against Burnaby in the Lower Mainland Third Division
The Totems started strongly and played almost the whole first half in Burnaby territory. With the back row of James McKenzie (St Thomas Moore), Marshall Fremlin (Shawnigan Lake) and Pat Zuk (Grand Prairie High) dominating the loose and with some astute kicking from Tom Kanwischer (Handsworth) and Nick Collett (Southridge), UBC gave the opposition little room to play. Pat Zuk scored the game’s only try midway through the half when he crashed over in the left corner.  After taking the 5-0 lead to the break, both teams used their benches to bring players into the game. UBC played almost thirty players and produced a series of outstanding goal line defensive stands to hold the visitors at bay. The next game for the Totems is in Delta against Brit Lions.
 

UBC to attend the Oxford University
World University Tournament in September 2015

UBC has accepted an invitation from Oxford University to participate in a World University Tournament to be held in conjunction with the World Cup and which will run from September 13th to September 23rd. 

The preliminary schedule is as follows:

Sun 13th Sept: All teams arrive in Oxford and establish themselves in their accommodation.


Mon 14th Sept:  Acclimatisation/Training runs. Evening reception for all teams ("Meet and Greet") at Iffley Road (IR) ‘Tented Village’
 

Tue 15th Sept:  Match Day 1 Pool Games (2 x 40 min matches per team) at IR


Wed 16th Sept: Training Runs/Rest/cultural day for players
Opening day of University Administrators Conference


Thu 17th Sept: Training Runs/Rest/cultural day for players

         

Fri 18th Sept: Match Day 2 Pool & Play-off Games (2 x 40 min matches per team) at IR
Evening reception at Iffley Road ‘Tented Village’ with broadcast of RWC 2015 Opening Ceremony and England v Oceania qualifier


Sat 19th Sept: Training Runs/Rest/cultural day for players
RWC Fixtures broadcast at Iffley Road ‘Tented Village’:
Ireland v Canada, France v Italy, South Africa v Japan


Sun 20th Sept: Training Runs/Rest/cultural day for players
RWC Fixture broadcast at Iffley Road ‘Tented Village’:
NZ v Argentina


Mon 21st Sept: Match Day 3 Plate & Cup Play-off games (1 x 60 min match per team) at IR


Tue 22nd Sept: Match Day 4 Plate & Cup Final games (1 x 60 min match per team)
Evening closing dinner and ceremony at Iffley Road ‘Tented Village’, followed by an ‘After Party’ in Oxford


Wed 23rd Sept: Teams depart


We will be sending out more information on the event as we receive it.

ZLC Millennium Breakfast:
Rugby has always been well represented at the annual Millennium Breakfast and we are hoping this year is the same.

Tickets are $200 with the donation portion, $160, matched by UBC and funds placed in the endowment fund for scholarships specifically for rugby players.
 

Tickets for the event, which includes featured speaker Christine Sinclair, can be purchased at www.gothunderbirds.ca by clicking on the breakfast button.
 

Please come out and support the UBC rugby program on February 24 at the 2015 ZLC Millennium Breakfast.
 

An Evening to Honour Spence McTavish:

We have finalized the venue for the Formal Dinner to honour Spence McTavish and his massive contribution to the UBC Rugby Program. The event will be held at the UBC Golf Club on March 21stwith the home World Cup Game against Berkeley to follow on March 22nd. Full details on the tickets for the Dinner will be forthcoming. Tickets will be $150.00 and can be ordered by contacting Dave Brown at dave.brown@ubc.ca

February 2, 2015

Join UBC as they kick off the 2015 ‘World Cup’ series in Berkeley

Just a quick reminder that the Birds travel down to San Francisco next week for the game against U Cal Berkeley on Saturday February 7th at Witter Rugby Field. The kick-off is at 2.00pm and the game will be televised by the PAC 12 Network.  
 

For those who will be coming down to give UBC Rugby all the support they need to keep the World Cup at UBC, there will be a tailgate party in the parking lot after the game.

Meanwhile, we look forward to seeing everybody at the Fields on Saturday for the games against Burnaby Lake RFC. It will be another great day of Thunderbird Rugby.

 

Flight Details: 

Departing Vancouver at 1323 (1.23pm) on Thursday February 5th, arriving in San Francisco at 1540  (3.40pm). Flight UA - 378

 

Departing San Francisco at 2045 (8.45pm) on Sunday February 8th, arriving in Vancouver at 23.10 (11.10pm). Flight UA 364

 

While in Berkeley the team will be staying at:

The Golden Bear Inn

1620 San Pablo Ave.

Berkeley, CA 94702

P: 510-525-6770

F: 510-525-6999

www.goldenbearinn.com

 

For more information on how to link up with the team during their trip, contact UBC Manager of Rugby Dave Brown at dave.brown@ubc.ca

January 29, 2015

Birds to square off against Burnaby Lake

After a great win in the Wightman Boot game and another week’s recovery and training, we are set for our opening home game of this half of the season. Our visitors, Burnaby Lake Rugby Club, will be tough opponents in all the divisions. In the CDI Premier League game Burnaby will be looking to overturn the result in the final game of the Fall season when UBC came out 46-29 winners. Saturday’s games start at 11.30am when the Totems play Burnaby 3rds.
 

Upcoming Games – January 31st:

Thunderbirds: CDI League Game v Burnaby Lake RFC: KO 2.30pm

Braves: Ceili’s League Game v Burnaby Lake RFC: KO 12.45pm

Totems: Lower Mainland 3rd Division League Game v Burnaby Lake RFC: KO 11.00am
 

ZLC Millennium Breakfast:

Rugby has always been well represented at the annual Millennium Breakfast and we are hoping this year is the same.
 

Tickets are $200 with the donation portion, $160, matched by UBC and funds placed in the endowment fund for scholarships specifically for rugby players.
 

Tickets for the event, which includes featured speaker Christine Sinclair, can be purchased at www.gothunderbirds.ca by clicking on the breakfast button. Please come out and support the UBC rugby program on February 24 at the 2015 ZLC Millennium Breakfast.

 

An Evening to Honour Spence McTavish:

We have finalized the venue for the Formal Dinner to honour Spence McTavish and his massive contribution to the UBC Rugby Program. The event will be held at the UBC Golf Club on March 21stwith the home World Cup Game against Berkeley to follow on March 22nd. Full details on the tickets for the Dinner will be forthcoming. Tickets will be $150.00 and can be ordered by contacting Dave Brown at dave.brown@ubc.ca

 

Congratulations to Our Players Chosen for the Rugby Canada U20 Camp

We have had six players receive invitations to the Rugby Canada Camp starting on January 27th at Shawnigan Lake: Harjun Gill, Karsten Leitner, Theo Sauder, Phil Berna, Andrew Coe and Cali Martinez.
 

Congratulations to our latest International Player

Carlo Albert was recently chosen for the Philippines. Everyone at the club is proud of this achievement.

 

 

2014-15 Schedule

January 16th: @ Vikes – won 23-19
January 31st: v Burnaby Lake
February 7th @ Berkeley
February 13th/14th: Las Vegas Sevens
February 21st: v JBAA
February 28th: @ Ravens
March 7th/8th: CIS Sevens @ Langford
March 22nd: v Berkeley
March 28th: @ Rowers
April 11th: v CW
April 18th: @ Capilano

January 27, 2015

Interview with coaches Rameses Langston and Curry Hitchborn

by Mark Bryant, BC Rugby News

We had a chance to talk to the UBC coaches about the recent success of their varsity rugby program, which included promotion to the BC Premier this season.

 

Curry Hitchborn is the forwards coach for UBC and Rameses Langston is the head coach. They had been coaching together at the Capilano rugby club where they won a few U19 championships. Rameses came over to the UBC program in 2012 and Curry followed in 2013.

 

BCRN: It’s been quite a remarkable turnaround for the UBC program over the last few years. Take us through some of the key events of that time period.

 

RL: Key factors for me would have to be being given the opportunity to learn from legendary coach and motivator Spence McTavish, having unwavering support from our alumni and having so many dedicated athletes to work with.

 

CH: Recruitment. We identified younger athletes (not necessarily provincial or national level) and let them know attending UBC was an option. We're able to do this without financial incentive in most cases. More importantly, it's easy to build off the base McTavish set down. The work he, Stoner and Horne put in over the years make it more stable.

 

BCRN: Obviously the win over Seattle in last year’s Div 1 final was a defining moment. What were key areas of your preparation, and what was the reaction from the players and UBC community?

 

RL: Our preparation was important, to simplify it, we needed to meet them head on in their areas of strength so that we had opportunities to dictate where the game would be played. Our guys were switched on from the start and were more than ready to physically front up for 80 minutes. Everyone was extremely happy for the guys, largely because anyone who knows anything about our program understood how hard we worked to prepare both teams for championships.

 

CH: Seattle is a powerhouse. We played them 3 times last year, the third being the final. When we faced them, we knew we were in tough in the pack. Their head coach is a forwards coach and their scrum is stacked with skilled, powerful rugby players. Our forwards decided they wanted to meet it head on - so they did.

 

BCRN: Tell us a bit about the coaching philosophy at UBC and what’s making the team so successful these last two seasons.

 

CH: We do new things. Try out new formations. Put guys in new spots. Refuse to abide by "this is the way we've always done it". Doesn't always work but it's always something new.

 

RL: Our philosophy starts with being ourselves and making the needs of our athletes a priority. We take pride in complementing a world class education with a challenging yet enjoyable rugby experience.

 

BCRN: Who are some of the key players that we should be taking note of this season?

 

CH: Sam Jeffries showed up out of the blue. He's our blindside flanker from Bristol. Theo Sauder, Phil Berna, Paul Ahn, Alex Mascott.

 

RL: Tough question, for me there are way too many outstanding human beings in the program to only talk about a few. We couldn't do any of this without every guy who shows the level of commitment we expect.

 

BCRN: Looking ahead what are some of the goals, not only for the program but for the coaching staff?

 

CH: For me, have every guy we coach here go back to the club he played at as a kid and stick it out there.

 

RL: I am looking forward to seeing where we are in 5 years. Our goal will always be to be one of the best rugby development programs in North America and if all goes well in the next few years I'd like to be internationally respected as well.

January 22, 2015

Full Match Report - Birds retain Wightman Boot

Results for Friday, January 16th

CDI Premier League: UBC 23 – University of Victoria 19

Ceili’s First Division: UBC 20 – University of Victoria 30

 

Game Reports
By Dave Brown
 

Thunderbirds retain the Wightman Boot as they down the Vikes in second leg of 2014-15 series and stay top of the CDI Premier League

In a game which BC Rugby covered on its live feed, the Thunderbirds opened the second half of its CDI campaign on the road against the University of Victoria Vikes at Centennial Stadium. The game was also the return leg of the Wightman Boot, with UBC holding a 30-19 advantage from the home win in the Fall.
 

The early play suggested that the Birds could control the sets, despite an injury to Prop Chris Taylor after less than five minutes. The Birds’ scrum looked strong and early breaks by Connor Weyell and James Thompson troubled the UVic defence. The home team took the lead after ten minutes when Guiseppe Du Toit landed a long penalty goal, sending out a warning the Birds that any infringements could be punished severely. UBC responded by making more breaks through the defensive line through Harjun Gill and Theo Sauder. The pressure continued and from a ruck on the right, just outside the Vikes’ 22 meter line, Spencer Miller ran flat and fed James Thompson on a short inside pass. Thompson accelerated through the gap and glided past the full back to score in the right corner. Staller missed the conversion but UBC were up 5-3.
 

Du Toit responded for the University of Victoria with another penalty goal before winger Crosbie Stewart forced his way over in the right corner following a series of goal line drives by the home team pack. Down 5-11, UBC probed down the right and a kick by Miller almost brought a try for Quinton Willms. The Birds eventually took the lead when Nate Rees broke through the defence following a line out win in their own half. His speed took him away from the Vikes’ cover and even with options outside he was able to cross the line untouched. Staller converted to push the Birds into a 12-11 lead. Within five minutes, Rees was over again. Thompson made the initial break from a line out and placed a deft kick forward to maintain the attack. Rees re-gathered the kick and scored wide on the left to put the Bird up 17-11. Another devastating break by the UBC backs in injury time produce a penalty which Staller converted to stretch the lead to 20-11.
 

The score at the half gave the Birds a 50-30 advantage in the Boot aggregate score, giving the Vikes a huge task to overcome in the final 40 minutes. The second half was exciting but full of mistakes by both teams, indicative of a first game back after the Christmas break. UBC started strongly and was unfortunate not to add to its lead in the opening attack on the Vikes’ line. The Vikes will rue the missed opportunities presented to them by the Birds in the opening twenty minutes as Du Toit failed on three penalty kicks at goal. When the Vikes finally crossed the line after in the left corner, again following a series of forward drives and with Gill in the bin for the Birds, the game was once again in the balance at 20-16. Bryan Tyrer then added a penalty to put the Birds up 23-16 before Hall reduced the arrears to 23-19 with a penalty with less than five minutes remaining.
 

The final five mutes of regular time, plus another five minutes of injury time, produced a series of attacks by both teams. With defenses standing firm, the Birds held on to the 23-19 lead, retaining the Wightman Boot by an aggregate score of 53-38 and maintain the pole position in the BC Rugby CDI Premier League.
 

Read the report of the game on the BC Rugby News website at http://bcrugbynews.com/show_news.cfm?ID=1464

And read the report on Man of the match, Nathan Rees at http://bcrugbynews.com/show_news.cfm?ID=1396
 

About the Wightman Boot

More commonly known as "The Boot", the home-and-home series played between the province's top university rugby programs will be in its 44th edition this year. The annual competition was named after the late Brian Wightman, who was at the helm of the Thunderbirds from 1964-1967. The trophy for the annual competition features Wightman's boot, which was stolen and bronzed by his players. The "Boot Game" has featured the Vikes and Thunderbirds every year since 1970 with the exception of the 1978-79 season when UBC hosted Stanford. The Vikes won 17 straight titles until conceding the Boot to the Birds  in the 2013-2014 season.
 

Braves fall short against the Norsemen in 20-30 loss

The Braves started well against the Norsemen by applying all the early pressure and spent the first 10 minutes camped inside their opponent’s half.  They came close to opening the score on three occasions only to be denied by poor technical execution. The Norsemen opened the scoring after fifteen minutes by converting a penalty and added a try minutes later after the Braves lost a line-out in their own half. UBC’s centers, Cam Graham and Cully Quirke were both causing problems for the Norsemen defense and after breaks by both players the play shifted from the right for Karsten Leitner to score in the left corner and reduce the lead to 5-8.
 

The home team responded immediately by moving the ball across the backline quickly from a right field line out on the half way line for the winger to score under the posts. With the conversion, the Norsemen increased the lead to 5-15. UBC attacked once again and a poor pass, going directly into touch, with a clear overlap gave the opposition another right field line out. The Norsemen exposed the UBC defense again and crossed in the left corner.  With the conversion failing, UBC trailed 5-20 at the half.
 

The second half opened with the Braves immediately taking the attack to the Norsemen. Scrum half Ben McKinnon made a telling break from a lineout and the movement was carried on by Jacob Ikeda and Wes Lee before Cole Keffer scored on the left to make it 10-20. The momentum stayed with the Braves and after a series of assaults on their opponents’ line, Cam Graham broke through the backline following quick ball from a right field scrum to reduce the lead to 15-20.
 

UBC continued to make solid progress when they had the ball and put pressure on the Norsemen’s defense, but technical errors again enabled their opponents to maintain the advantage. With fifteen minutes to go, the home team scored a breakaway try to extend its lead to 15-25. The Braves came back once more with Tyler Hergott forcing his way over on the left following a break by flanker Nakai Penny. At 20-25, the game was still in the balance and the Braves mounted a series of assaults on the Norsemen’s line. Just as it seemed that a tying score was inevitable, a stray pass was intercepted and returned the length of the field to seal a 20-30 win for the home team.
 

The Braves were disappointed by the outcome but also realized that the rustiness of this performance can be remedied by a focused practice in the next two weeks before the home game against Burnaby.
 

Upcoming Games – January 31st

The next game is a home fixture against Burnaby Lake on Saturday January 31st. Be there for another great day of Thunderbird Rugby.

CDI Premier League: UBC Birds v Burnaby Lake RFC, KO 2.45pm

Ceili’s First Division: UBC Braves v Burnaby Lake RFC, KO 1.00pm

January 20, 2015

Thunderbirds defend 2015 Boot title

Elizabeth Chan, UVic Vikes Athletics 

 

VICTORIA, B.C. – The UBC Thunderbirds men's rugby team defeated the University of Victoria Vikes 23-19 this afternoon, Jan. 16, at Centennial Stadium to win the second leg of the Wightman Boot series and retain the trophy for the second straight year. UBC triumphed in the two-game series by an aggregate score of 53-38. The Thunderbirds also remain first in the CDI Premier League standings. 

 

UBC try scorers were centres Nathan Rees and James Thompson. Winger Brock Staller secured one convert and a penalty while sub Bryan Tyrer rolled off the pine to contribute a penalty.

 

Vikes eightman Nathan Stewart and prop Macbryan Bos were the try scorers for the home team, while outside half Guiseppe duToit and fullback Fergus Hall contributed in penalty kicks.

 

The Thunderbirds had a strong start in the opening half, coming close to scoring in the fourth minute but had the ball snatched away from the line by a gritty defensive Vikes line. Second-year Vike duToit was first to get on the board, coverting a kick at the 10-minute mark, giving UVic a 3-0 lead.

 

The T-Birds found their countering momentum soon enough as fullback Theo Sauder tore down the sidelines to set up team mate Thompson to score a try at the 17th minute. The try went unconverted to give UBC a 5-3 lead.

 

UVic increased their point streak to 11-5 after duToit earned another penalty 21 minutes into the game. The Vikes showed some clever passing skills and tenacity that eventually sprung fourth year Stewart to score the first try for UVic at the 24th-minute mark.

 

UBC amped up the offence as Rees managed to break through UVic's defence, making a strong run to touch down for a try at the 31-minute mark. The ensuing kick was successfully converted by Staller to lift the T-Birds up 12-11.

 

UBC centre Rees was on fire, scoring another try in the 36th minute. That would go unconverted but UBC maintained their lead at 17-11 at the end of the first half. Entering injury time, Staller added a penalty kick so UBC held a 20-11 entering the break.

 

Although the Vikes struggled to secure penalty points in the early minutes of the second half, the home team managed to trim UBC's lead to four, 20-16, when second-year prop Bos scored the second try for UVic.

 

UBC left them little room and the next few minutes saw both teams trading kicks with ten minutes remaining. T-Bird Tyler came off the bench to solidfy the penalty, stretching their lead to 23-16.

 

The Vikes replied with one of their own as fullback Hall made a successful kick. Time became an enemy for the Vikes, who were looking to find opportunities to score and edge the T-Birds who led 23-19.

 

The clock ticked into added time and the T-Birds denied UVic any last-ditch chances.  

 

This marks the 44th annual Boot series between the provincial rivals since 1970. The competition is named after the late Brian Wightman, who was a UBC rugby coach from 1964-67. 

 

UBC's next game will take place on January 31 at Burnaby Lake.

 

SCORING LEADERS

UBC:

James Thompson (1 try)

Nathan Rees (2 tries)

Brock Staller (1 C, 1 PK)

Bryan Tyrer (1 PK)

 

UVIC:

Nathan Stewart (1 try)

Guiseppe duToit (2 PK)

Macbryan Bos (1 try)

Fergus Hall (1 PK)

 

January 16, 2015

Thunderbirds set to kick off 2015 with Wightman Boot title defence

VICTORIA, BC – The CDI Premier League table leaders UBC Thunderbirds (6-1) will head to Victoria this Friday to open their 2015 campaign against the no.2 UVic Vikes (5-1-1). The two sides will square off in round two of the storied Wightman Boot, an annual home-and-home series between Western Canada’s elite men’s university rugby programs.

 

MATCH DETAILS - WIGHTMAN BOOT:

Fri. January 16, 2015

UBC Thunderbirds  at UVic Vikes (Centennial Stadium, Victoria) 2:00pm

UVic Norsement at UBC Braves (Wallace Field) 12:30pm
 

After 17 straight years of UVic lifting the trophy, UBC went 2-0 in 2014 to hoist the coveted bronzed boot once worn by the late UBC Coach Brian Wightman. 2015 has been a year of backing up their string of impressive 2014 accomplishments that also saw them take the World Cup against Cal as well as winning the Okanagan Spring Brewery League to earn promotion to the province’s top flight for the 2014-15 season.

 

Heading into this weekend’s clash, UBC holds an 11-point advantage after dispatching the Vikes 30-19 at Wolfson Fields back on October 25th. Round one featured high-octane offences but it was UBC’s forwards that won the day, winning key battles in the trenches and dominating in the lineouts and set pieces. The first half saw ‘Birds lock Connor Hamilton crash over for two tries and Brock Staller tallied a try, conversion and a penalty for the 20-7 half time lead. James Thompson would get UBC’s fourth try after the break while Staller added another penalty and conversion for the 30-19 win.

 

The ‘Birds have since rolled to six victories, falling just once to Rounsefell Cup holders James Bay Athletic Association. UVic haven’t lost since October 25 and will be desperate to return the Boot to the Island.


With an 11-point lead, UBC head coach Rameses Langston says the job is far from done and preparations are well underway to face a tough UVic side on home soil.

 

“It’s never enough to just have a points advantage heading in. On any given day UVic can put up 50 points,” Langston said. “[Our lead] is not something we are going to acknowledge because you have to head into this games as if you were down by 30. With the urgency UVic plays with and the guys they have in their program, we need to be ready.”

 

The two sides boast plenty of national and provincial team caliber athletes. Staller and UVic sophomore Giuseppe du Toit are tied for top scorer in the Premier table with 63 points. Du Toit’s boot has been lethal with 11 penalties and 15 conversions in six games. Staller has proven he can score from anywhere on the field with four tries, five penalties and 14 conversions.


Each matchup will be crucial and Langston is well aware of the threats that UVic’s flyers pose if given room to run.

 

“They’re a strong 15 across the field and have key substitutes that are able to influence the game,” Langston added. “Guys like Pat Kay and Justin Douglas, if they’re available, are ones that you have to know where they are at all times. Giusseppe, Lucas Hammond and Ollie Nott are all great players. They are literally an all-star team that we need to be ready for.”

 

UBC’s squad has its own list of all-star talent, and the recent recruits continue to push the veterans for starting positions.
 

“The young guys have been brilliant and we’re very happy with their progress,” Langston added. “The reality of coaching a university program is that sometimes you will have 17 year olds playing men’s level rugby. We had a few new players in the mix last year and now this year the young guys have really added depth to our team. It’s paying dividends.”

 

Key recruits for this season include scrum half Cole Keffer, Theo Sauder, and Phil Berna who is currently on tour with the Canadian Maple Leafs development team. BC U18 grad Nakai Penny of Penticton has made a big impact, as have rookies Nick Allen and James Carson. Cali Martinez is also quickly moving up the ranks, having suited up in the front row for UBC in their 2014 season finale against Burnaby Lake RC.


Both squads have enjoyed some well-deserved recovery time over the winter break and will be looking to quickly shake off the rust on Friday afternoon. When asked about this week’s approach for the Boot rematch and how strong his forwards were last time, Langston remained tight-lipped about the game plan.

 

“All good and effective rugby teams have great forwards and that’s important as a lot of the smaller battles are won and lost there. The expectation is for our forwards to dictate and do a great job for us up front,” Langston said. “But that’s not the only thing this team can do. We’re never the same team twice.”

 

The UBC Braves and UVic Norsemen will kick off the day’s schedule at Wallace Field on Friday at 12:30pm in a match that will count towards the First Division Ceili’s Cup League standings. The attention will then shift to the main event at Centennial Stadium at 2:00pm for round two of the Boot series.

 

About the Wightman Boot

More commonly known as "The Boot", the home-and-home series played between the province's top university rugby programs will be in its 44th edition this year. The annual competition was named after the late Brian Wightman, who was at the helm of the Thunderbirds from 1964-1967. The trophy for the annual competition features Wightman's boot, which was stolen and bronzed by his players. The "Boot Game" has featured the Vikes and Thunderbirds every year since 1970 with the exception of the 1978-79 season when UBC hosted Stanford. The Vikes won 17 straight titles until conceding the Boot to the Birds in 2014.

January 12, 2015

2015 Rugby season underway

A Happy New Year to everyone. You will be delighted to know that we are back training and gearing up for a heavy second half to the season. The action comes fast and furious with the second part of the Boot Game (and first CDI League Game of 2015) against the Vikes set for Friday January 16th at Centennial Stadium at the University of Victoria Campus. The Braves will be playing the opening game at Wallace Field at 12.30pm. We look forward to seeing supporters at the game.
 

The players returned to practice on Tuesday January 6th with a great turn out of over 80 athletes for both of the sessions this week.

 

Following the game against the Vikes, we will be getting ready for our Home Opener against Burnaby Lake Rugby Club on Saturday January 31st.
 

Upcoming Games – January 16th:
Birds: CDI League/Boot Game V University of Victoria – Friday January 16th, Centennial Stadium, University of Victoria, KO 2.00pm

Braves: Ceili’s League Game v University of Victoria – Friday January 16th, Wallace Field, University of Victoria, KO 12.30pm

 

ZLC Millennium Breakfast:
Rugby has always been well represented at the annual Millennium Breakfast and we are hoping this year is the same.

Tickets are $200 with the donation portion, $160, matched by UBC and funds placed in the endowment fund for scholarships specifically for rugby players.
 

Tickets for the event, which includes featured speaker Christine Sinclair, can be purchased at www.gothunderbirds.ca by clicking on the breakfast button.
 

Please come out and support the UBC rugby program on February 24 at the 2015 ZLC Millennium Breakfast.

 

An Evening to Honour Spence McTavish:

We have finalized the venue for the Formal Dinner to honour Spence McTavish and his massive contribution to the UBC Rugby Program. The event will be held at the UBC Golf Club on March 21stwith the home World Cup Game against Berkeley to follow on March 22nd. Full details on the tickets for the Dinner will be available next week. Tickets will be $250.00

 

Congratulations to Our Three Players on the South America Sevens Tour
We have three players on the current Maple Leaf &s Tour to South America. Jorden Sandover-Best and Andrew Coe have been selected again for this Development Group along with first timer Phil Berna. Please follow the link below to read Patrick Johnston’s article “Trio of UBCers highlight Rugby Canada’s youthful squad for Maple Leafs 7s tour to South America”.

http://blogs.theprovince.com/category/sports/rugby-sports/

January 9, 2015

Best wishes for the holiday season from UBC Rugby

As we move towards Christmas and the New Year, we can reflect on a satisfying first half of the season. 

Despite a list of injuries that many clubs would find difficult to overcome, the Birds are sitting top of the BC Rugby CDI Premier League with a 6-1 record. The Braves sit comfortably in the fourth playoff position in the Ceili’s First Division, the Totems reached the Third Division Lower Mainland Bowl Final and the U20s reached the Provincial Final. The Program is in very good health and much of the success goes down to hard work and planning of the Coaching Staff, led by Rameses Langston, and the support of Strength and Conditioning Coach, Joe McCullum, and of course the work of the Trainers.
 

The players have been keeping fit over the exam period and will return to training immediately after the New Year. In the mean time, they have also been busy contributing to the Community through a Children’s Toy Drive and setting up a Blood Donation Day.
 

Upcoming Games – January 16th:
Our first series of games after the break will be on the Island when we take on the University of Victoria in CDI League/Boot Game and Ceili’s League play respectively. Games for the Braves and Birds are set to kick off at 3:00pm and 5:00pm respectively. Our first home game will be against Burnaby Lake on January 31st.

 

An Evening to Honour Spence McTavish:

We have finalized the venue for the Formal Dinner to honour Spence McTavish and his massive contribution to the UBC Rugby Program. The event will be held at the UBC Golf Club on March 21st with the home World Cup Game against Berkeley to follow on March 22nd. Full details on the tickets for the Dinner will be available in the New Year.
 

Best wishes for the Holiday Season:
We are all acutely aware of the contribution that our Alumni bring to the success of the program and send out our thanks to everyone who has contributed in 2014. All the players and staff with the UBC Rugby Program wish you all the best for the holiday season and look forward to your continued support as we move forward to a busy program in 2015.

December 19, 2014

Totems fall to Rowers in 3rd Div Bowl Final

Result for Saturday November 29th
 

3rd Division – Fall Bowl Final: UBC Totems 13 v Vancouver Rowing Club 32

 

Game Report

Totems Fall to Rowers in 3rd Division Fall Bowl Final
With the weather turning on Friday evening, bringing snow and freezing conditions to most of fields on the Lower Mainland, it was a surprise to find Klahanie declared as playable. The Totems started off looking the better of the two teams with Chris Rey converting an early penalty for a 3-0 lead. The smaller and younger UBC pack was holding its own against the more experienced Rowers with the back row of Ian Paul, Trenton Chard and James McKenzie leading the way. After 15 minutes Rey extended the lead to 6-0 with his second penalty. Rey’s long kicks were putting the Rower’s back three under pressure and on twenty minutes strong pursuit by McKenzie and Haydn Melin isolated the left winger. Mckenzie  made the tackle, got to his feet quickly and recovered the ball to score. Rey converted and UBC were worthy of the 13-0 lead.
 

The Rowers began their comeback immediately from the kick off. From a UBC knock on, the Rowers attacked through the forwards before shifting the ball wide to the right through some tentative tackling for a score in the corner and reduce the gap to 13-5. Within another five minutes, the pattern was repeated with a similar outcome and the score at the half was 13-10 for the Totems.
 

The second half began with Rowers pursuing the same tactics, scoring for a third time on the right flank and taking a 13-15 lead. UBC’s attempt to get back into the game was disrupted by a constant stream of penalties at the contact point. Rowers converted the first penalty to extend the gap to 13-18 before adding two converted tries from further penalty infringements to round out the scoring 13-32 winners.
 

Despite the defeat, the Totems have made great strides throughout the first half of the season and with continued individual and collective development the team can look forward to a competitive campaign following the Christmas break.
 

Upcoming Games – January 16th:
CDI League and Ceili’s League, UBC Birds and Braves @ UVic, TBC

 

An Evening to Honour Spence McTavish

Make a note in your calendars that we will be hosting a Formal Dinner to honour Spence McTavish, and his massive contribution to the UBC Rugby Program, in conjunction with the home World Cup Game against Berkeley.  The Berkeley Game will be on March 22nd and the Dinner will take place on March 21st.  Full details to follow soon.

November 29, 2014

Thunderbirds down Burnaby, top Premier table

Thunderbirds down Burnaby, top Premier table

 

Results for Saturday November 22nd

CDI Premier League: UBC Thunderbirds 46, Burnaby Lake 29
Ceili’s First Division: UBC Braves 20, Burnaby Lake 27
3rd Division – Fall Bowl Semi-Final: UBC Totems 28, Chilliwack 5

 

Game Reports
 

Thunderbirds Defeat Burnaby to Finish the Fall CDI League in First Place
The final game of the 2014 Fall season saw the depleted Thunderbirds take on last year’s CDI Finalists and League winner from 2013-2014, Burnaby Lake Rugby Club. With almost a full backline watching from the sideline (Quinton Willms, Eric Hunter-James, Nat Rees, Brock Staller, Brian Tyrer and Spencer Miller), UBC began the contest without missing a beat. In the opening minute, James Thompson, starting at 10 for the first time this season, gathered a kick and scored under the posts. Theo Sauder converted and the Birds were up 7-0.
 

Almost immediately from the restart, UBC were penetrating the Burnaby line again. Manar Kulkhan’s strong run was carried on by Connor Weyell, only for the move to break down when he passed to a Burnaby player. A similar outcome halted the next Burnaby attack when Jorden Sandover-Best also offloaded to a Burnaby defender. With Thompson leaving the field due to an injury sustained in scoring, Phil Berna came on at centre and Harjun Gill moved to stand off. Twice denied on previous attacks, the next counter attack yielded a second score. Karsten Leitner started the move breaking through the Burnaby defence on the left before interchanging pass with Harjun Gill and finishing off with the score. Sauder, taking over the kicking duties from the injured Staller, landed his second convert to push UBC out to a 14-0 lead.
 

Burnaby looked shocked but began to mount a comeback working through its massive set of forwards and their strong 10-12 combo. A series of line-out drives coupled with a pounding attack in the inside channels tested the Birds’ defence which finally broke after 25 minutes when inside centre Dolesau made a telling break which was finished off by Kelly in the left corner. Reekie converted to reduce the gap to 14-7. When Karsten Leitner was sent to the bin just after the 30-minute mark, the Burnaby pressure escalated and Reekie’s penalty narrowed the score to 14-10. With time seemingly running down, the Birds penetrated again and this time Sandover-Best found Sam Jeffries in support. Jeffries started his weaving run on the right before slicing through and around Burnaby tacklers to score under the posts. Sauder again converted to give the Birds a 21-10 lead. Leitner came back on and, mysteriously, the game continued for a further 10 minutes with no change to the score but an injury to Sauder who was replaced by Liam Murphy-Burke.
 

Following an offside penalty against Burnaby, Murphy-Burke extended UBC’s lead to 24-10. Connor Hamilton caught the ensuing kickoff and fed Charlie Thorpe, who offloaded to Paul Ahn as the Birds pressed into Burnaby’s 22. The ball was shifted back left for Kulkhan to drive for the line.  When stopped, the attack came back to the right to Ahn who neatly side stepped the last defender to score. Murphy-Burke converted and the lead stretched to 31-10.

 

Burnaby responded decisively with a score following a line-out drive in the left corner, converted by Reekie. Burnaby notched another try by Murphy in the right corner following a series of line out drives in the UBC half.

The lead was now at 31-22 in UBC’s favour. Murphy-Burke than added his second penalty to push the Birds out to 34-22. Nearing the 25-minute mark, the Birds put the game completely out of Burnaby’s reach with two scores in two minutes. The first came from a great individual effort from Harjun Gill who broke the Burnaby line, stumbled and then recovered his balance to sprint over from near the half way line. Murphy-Burke converted again and UBC were up 39-22.

Sam Jeffries had broken the UBCOB Ravens’ hearts the previous week when he powered from a kick off to put Sandover-Best across for a score. Now he went one better, taking the Burnaby kick and powering through the Burnaby defence to score himself. With Murphy- Burke converting, UBC’s lead was 46-22. A final score from Burnaby closed the gap to 46-29 before the final whistle went. The win leaves UBC clear at the top pf the CDI Premier League with a 6-1 record heading into the winter break.
 

Braves Remain in a Top Four Position in the Ceili’s First Division Despite a 20-27 Loss
The Braves started well against Burnaby but failed to capitalize on any chances that they made. Burnaby made the most of its dominance at the scrum to maintain its own ball and turn over possession at UBC’s sets. The home side took a 3-0 lead after ten minutes and then slowly built up its lead as the half wound down. Wes Wong kicked a penalty to make the score 8-3 before a poor clearance kick allowed Burnaby to mount pressure and score after some weak tackling. At 13-3, the Burnaby pack then asserted itself at a line-out, driving over to score and adding the conversion to push its lead at the half to 20-3.
 

When the home team extended its lead to 27-3 immediately following the restart, it looked like the game was out of reach and that Burnaby would take complete control. However, the Braves responded by playing some outstanding attacking rugby along with a more determined defence. Wong reduced the arrears to 6-27 with a penalty. Several UBC attacks then tested the Burnaby defense before Nick Allen burst through on a counter attack to offload to Cam Graham who scored by the posts. Kanwischer converted to take the score to 13-27. Further breaks went unrewarded until Noah Spence made a spectacular offload in the tackle to Tyler Hergott who raced fifty metres to score. Kanwischer converted again and the Braves were now in a bonus point losing position at 20-27.
 

Two final forays by James McKenzie and then Nick Allen went unrewarded as the Braves salvaged some pride and a point in the loss.
 

Totems Move to 3rd Division Fall Bowl Final with Win at Chilliwack

The Totems made the long trip to Chilliwack in the Division 3 Bowl Semi-Final and emerged 28-5 winners. The game was very much a story of UBC’s smaller forwards contending against a larger home team pack. The Totems took the lead when Spencer Loughlin made a break which was kept going through the back row before Drew Coles scored at the posts. Haydn Melin continued his hot streak by scoring another two tries while Chris Ho also added a try. Chris Rey returned to his kicking form by adding four conversions. The Bowl Final, to be confirmed, is set for November 29th.  

Upcoming Games – November 29th

3rd Division Bowl Final: UBC Totems Game details TBC

 

An Evening to Honour Spence McTavish

Make a note in your calendars that we will be hosting a Formal Dinner to honour Spence McTavish, and his massive contribution to the UBC Rugby Program, in conjunction with the home World Cup Game against Berkeley.  The Berkeley Game will be on March 22nd and the Dinner will take place on March 21st.  Full details to follow soon.

 

 

November 22, 2014

Thunderbirds return to winning form against Ravens

Results for Saturday November 15th

CDI Premier League: UBC Thunderbirds 37 – UBCOB Ravens 18

Ceili’s First Division: UBC Braves 33 – UBCOB Ravens 10

3rd Division: UBC Totems 26 – Kelowna 23

U20 Men BC Final: UBC 12 – UBCOB Ravens 13

 

Game Reports
 

Thunderbirds return to winning form against Ravens
After the defeat at James Bay last weekend, the Birds were determined to come back strong against their local rivals. However, it was the Ravens who struck first right from the kick off, retaining possession in a series of drives on the right before shifting the attack to the left and scoring in the corner. The conversion was successful and UBC was down 0-7. Within five minutes, the Birds leveled the scores when, from a penalty kick to touch, the line out drive saw Sam Clark score the try and Staller add the conversion.
 

When the Ravens missed converting a clear three-on-one overlap, there was a sense that the home team might be in for a testing afternoon. Then, within 10 minutes UBC looked to have put the game out of reach. First Liam Murphy-Burke stepped in to intercept and run in from 60 metres. Brock Staller converted again to gain the lead t 14-7.  Full back Theo Sauder then broke down the left, following a line out steal on the right, only to be stopped short. On 25 minutes the Birds got a turnover in their own half. Jorden Sandover-Best moved the ball wide and Kirk Bonnis continued the drive before Staller broke through the line. Staller passed off to Murphy- Burks before supporting back row Sam Jeffries took the final pass to score. Staller’s conversion pushed their lead to 21-7.
 

In the final 15 minutes of the half, UBC should have put the game out of reach of their opponents. Numerous breaks and drives were wasted, however, and the score remained 21-7 at the half. When centre James Thompson was sent to the bin for an intentional knock on at the restart, Ravens began a comeback. An unconverted try and penalty brought the score to 21-18 and put the game back in the balance. Once again, UBC squandered an opportunity when the ball was moved quickly from a steal on the left, all the way to the right for Karsten Leitner to power downfield. A score seemed imminent, only for the final pass to go astray in the tackle. As 60 minutes approached, Staller added a penalty to increase the lead to 24-18. From the ensuing kickoff, Jeffries broke clear down the right side line before feeding Sandover-Best for the try and a 29-18 lead. The Ravens kicked off and UBC this time drove on the reception before moving the ball to the left for Staller to break the line. A try looked certain only for the final pass to be judged as forward by referee Mason.
 

UBC’s forward pack had been solid all game, winning its own ball at lineout and contesting the contact points with aggression and discipline. As the game neared its conclusion, the pack concluded its performance by stealing two balls against the head at scrums on the Ravens’ five-metre line. The first one on the left almost produced a score on the drive and as the play moved over to right field for the second, Sam Jeffries was the beneficiary of the second steal. At 34-18, the home team had the final word when Harjun Gill added a penalty at the whistle to give UBC the 37-18 victory and stay in first place in the CDI standings.

 

Braves defeat Ravens to stay in the top-four in the Ceili’s Cup League standings
Following two defeats and a draw in the last three games, the Braves came away with a well-deserved 33-10 win against Ravens.  The visitors took an early 0-5 lead with a score in the right corner after eight minutes. UBC answered quickly through a fine individual break and score by Cully Quirke and a Gavin Stephen conversion. Ravens responded almost immediately with a penalty to regain the lead at 7-10 and would retain this through to half time.
 

The Braves took the lead almost right from the restart as Quirke tallied once more. Stephen converted to push the home team in front 14-10. The game remained in the balance for the next 20 minutes as both teams probed for a decisive score. With less than 15 minutes remaining, Quirke engineered a space for substitute Tyler Hergott to stride over untouched over 30 metres. Stephen somehow missed the conversion in front of the posts and with a 19-10 advantage, the game was still there to win for both teams. UBC took the initiative to seal the win when Quirke broke for the line once more. As he was tackled short, Mike O’ Toole was on hand to pick up and score. Stephen added his third conversion to the bonus point try and put the home team up 26-10.
 

Right on time, Hergott added his second try with a timely interception. Quirke converted to push the home team clear at 33-10. The Braves solidified their 4th place position in the Ceili’s 1st Division Standings, one point behind University of Victoria and eight ahead of 5th place Rowers.
 

Totems claim close win over Kelowna
The Totems have had a series of difficult games against strong and experienced opponents and have been steadily improving. Hosting Kelowna proved to be another test for the group, especially with the four-game home stand. Kelowna took the lead with an unconverted try after five minutes. The Totem forwards worked hard to contain and compete against their bigger opponents while the backs were a constant threat with any ball they had to work with. After 25 minutes UBC leveled the score at 5-5 when Haydn Melin was released on the right and powered 50 metres to score in the corner. Chris Heathcote-Rey then added a penalty to push the Totems in front 8-5. Kelowna evened the score with a penalty before a counter attack for UBC ended with Rupert Peers chipping over the Kelowna defence for Sean Fox to collect and score. The half time score was 13-8 in favour of UBC.
 

Kelowna came out strongly after the whistle and tied the game up at 13-13 with an unconverted try. For the next 20 minutes, both teams then looked to break the deadlock. After a scuffle in the Kelowna 22, the two teams were reduced to 14 players as yellow cards were issued. UBC was awarded the penalty and Sean Fox powered over for his second score to give the home team the 18-13 lead.  Kelowna responded once more to tie up the score at 18-18 before Haydn Melin continued his rich vein of current form by scoring his second try with another powerful run and score to put UBC back in front at 23-18.  Heathcote-Rey extended the gap to 26-18 with his second penalty before Kelowna closed the gap to 26-23 with a late and final try.
 

U20 Men lose BC final 12-13 to Ravens
The Ravens came to UBC to avenge an early season defeat at the hands of the U20 UBC Men and succeeded in holding the home team at bay for most of the game. The visitors broke the deadlock after 20 minutes when their full back scampered over half the length of the field to score in the corner. UBC then wasted a number of opportunities out wide before No 8 Nick Allen capitalized on a massive break by center Phil Berna to score a try and tie the score at 5-5.
 

As the second half started, it was the visitors who took the initiative. The Ravens’ strong scrum set the platform for their scoring opportunities. First, a penalty for a collapsed scrum took the score to 5-8. Then a second try came at the mid-point of the half after solid work from the forwards at the set and ensuing rucks. Down 5-13, UBC finally got back in the game when Berna chased his own kick through and scored at the posts. Kanwischer converted and the lead was reduced to 12-13. There were eight minutes remaining to mount the final comeback but the Ravens’ defense held firm as they claimed the Men’s under-20 provincial title.
 

Congratulations to UBC players selected for Canada U18 Tour to Romania
Everyone in the UBC program is delighted with the selection of five players to the Canada U18 Tour of Romania.  Congratulations to Cole Keffer (Scrum Half), Braydon Williams (Prop), Foster Dewitt (Hooker), Nolan Howell (Lock) and Declan Kelly (Lock).
 

Upcoming Games – November 22nd
Next weekend sees the Birds and Braves at Burnaby Lake RFC in the final game of the Fall season, while the Totems may have a play-off game in Division 3.

CDI Premier League: UBC Birds @ Burnaby, KO 2.30pm

Ceili’s First Division: UBC Braves @ Burnaby, KO 1.00pm

3rd Division: UBC Totems TBC

 

An Evening to Honour Spence McTavish

Make a note in your calendars that we will be hosting a Formal Dinner to honour Spence McTavish, and his massive contribution to the UBC Rugby Program, in conjunction with the home World Cup Game against Berkeley.  The Berkeley Game will be on March 22nd and the Dinner will take place on March 21st. 

 

November 15, 2014

Thunderbirds suffer first Premier League loss at James Bay

Results for Saturday November 8th

CDI Premier League: UBC Thunderbirds 14 – JBAA 22

Ceili’s First Division: UBC Braves 17 – JBAA 17

Third Div: UBC Totems 20-28 Capilano B

MATCH REPORTS
 

Thunderbirds suffer first Premier League loss at James Bay
The UBC Thunderbirds travelled to James Bay with a re-jigged line up on Saturday to take on the defending Rounsefell Cup champions, James Bay Athletic Association.  So far, the more intense competition of the CDI League has seen the Birds field a different starting line-up for each game, and following the win against Capilano, there were more than seven changes to the side that begun the game on Saturday. Kirk Bonnis came into the second row for his first start of the season while Jacob Ikeda and Allan Hogarth both featured as flankers. Quinton Willms returned to full back with Brock Staller moving to outside centre, Harjun Gill to stand off and Liam Murphy-Burke coming in on the wing.
 

Under clear skies but on a heavy pitch at MacDonald Park, the Birds started brightly when James Thompson scored under the posts after just five minutes. Staller easily converted to make the score 7-0. James Bay then used its big forward pack to try and break down the UBC defence, driving from lineouts and playing off its experienced half backs, Phil Mack and Jeff Williams. The home team tied up the score after 17 minutes and took the lead less than five minutes later with an unconverted score.

The Birds’ pack were competing effectively at the contact point and had no trouble winning their own sets, with the scrum solid and with the lineout functioning efficiently through Sam Clark. With the UBC backs looking dangerous whenever they received possession, it looked like it was only a matter of time that the team could create a scoring opportunity.

As half time approached, James Bay conceded a penalty at half way. Staller stepped up, only to strike the ball against the post. From the resulting pressure, UBC’s scrum won the ball just outside the 22. Thompson sliced through the James Bay defence and fed his supporting partner Staller, who scored at the post and then added the conversion to give the Birds a 14-12 lead at the half.
 

James Bay began the second half strongly and signaled tactics immediately, pinning UBC in its own half and specifically in the renowned ‘coffin corner.’ When Charlie Thorpe was sent to the bin after 10 minutes, the Bays upped the pressure. A series of scrums lasting three minutes saw the home team regain the lead with a converted try. The 19-14 score was extended to 22-14 with a penalty just before Thorpe returned from his card.
 

UBC worked fiercely to withstand the James Bay pressure, fending off a series of Bays’ drives from line outs and a succession of high ball attacks. The Birds might have felt aggrieved when, in one of its few forays into the James Bay half, Thompson sent prop Chris Taylor clear only to have the penetration called back for a forward pass. With time ticking away, UBC worked hard to find a way to produce the scoring opportunity that would reduce the lead and get a much deserved bonus point.  A final flourish down the left flank ended with knock on and the game ended 22-14 in James Bay’s favour.

 

Braves Claim a Draw on the Final Play of the Game
The Braves came away from the Island with a 17-17 tie after an indifferent and inconsistent display. James Bay looked to establish dominance at the sets, controlling the scrum and driving off lineouts. UBC handled its defensive duties well until James McKenzie was given a yellow card after 10 minutes. The Bays eventually took a 5-0 lead following a try from a lineout drive. McKenzie came back on and along with fellow flanker Rafi Malcolm, began to disrupt James Bay’s attack. UBC’s backs were also looking dangerous with Matt Cheong and Tyler Hergott prominent on the counter and Pete Stockton coming in strongly at full back. Wes Wong reduced the arrears to 3-5 with a penalty.
 

UBC missed a golden opportunity to take the lead when the ball was knocked on with the line open, following a long kick that McKenzie had chased down and forced over in the tackle. From the resulting James Bay scrum, the Braves won the ball and Nick Allen crashed over. Wong converted and the team headed into the half up 10-5.
 

The second half began with James Bay forcing the pressure through its pack. A push against the head gave them the tying score and then poor tackling resulted in the home team taking a 17-10 lead. UBC managed to create a number of scoring opportunities only to be denied by some poor decision-making and with a lack of aggressive and determined support. Then, with no time left on the clock, the Braves put it all together.  A drive in centre field was moved right for Tyler Hergott to push at the line. The ruck was won cleanly and the forwards took the ball hard up the centre again before being shifted left for Cam Graham to score in the corner. Wes Wong kept his nerve and converted from the sideline to grab a crucial two points for the team in the 17-17 tie.


Totems impress again in another loss to Capilano ‘B’
After an impressive showing against Capilano ‘A’ in the previous game, the Totems headed to Klahanie to face Capilano ‘B’ who were coming off a big win against Kamloops. Despite being dominated by a strong and experienced pack, the Totems competed in every phase of the game and showed great determination. Improving as the game went on and coming backfrom conceding three early tries, UBC scored a first half try through Dylan Weyell along with a conversion and penalty from Jonathon Manderson. In the second half Manderson added a try and converted a great backline efffort by Haydn Melin. The game finished at 20-28 in favour of Capilano.
 

Upcoming Games – November 15th
Next weekend sees the Birds and Braves at home to the UBC Old Boys Ravens, while the Totems host Kelowna and the U20s play against the Ravens in the U20 Final.
 

CDI Premier League: UBC Birds v Ravens, KO 2.30pm

Ceili’s First Division: UBC Braves v Ravens, KO 1.00pm

3rd Division: UBC Totems v Kelowna, KO 11.30am

U20 Men: UBC v Ravens, KO 11.30am

 

An Evening to Honour Spence McTavish

Make a note in your calendars that we will be hosting a Formal Dinner to honour Spence McTavish, and his massive contribution to the UBC Rugby Program, in conjunction with the home World Cup Game against Berkeley.  The Berkeley Game will be on March 22nd and the Dinner will take place on March 21st. 

 

 

 

 

November 8, 2014

Birds edge Capilano, move to 4-0

Thunderbirds defeat Capilano, remain unbeaten in CDI Premier League

The UBC Thunderbirds moved to 4-0 in the Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League standings on Saturday, with a 23-17 victory over Capilano. With the win, UBC stayed at the top of the CDI Premier League standings and took back the Olmstead Cup, given to the victors of this fixture.
 

UBC came out strong, forcing a penalty directly from the kick off. Brock Staller continued his scoring ways and put the hosts up 3-0. Two minutes later, the Birds backline shifted the ball quickly to the right and fresher full back Theo Sauder sored in the corner. Staller converted from wide and stretched the lead to 10-0. The scoring trend continued as UBC pressured their opponents again. Staller landed his second penalty to give the Birds a 13-0 margin.
 

On 20 minutes, Capilano were reduced to 14 men and UBC were quick to capitalize. Once again it came from a right side attack with Bryan Tyrer making the break and keeping the movement going with a deft grubber kick, which was collected by Staller to score in the corner. The conversion failed and the Birds were up 18-0. Back at full strength, the visitors mounted a furious attack on the Birds’ line, driving from line-outs and working the edges of the contact points. The Birds held firm with disciplined defensive work, taking the 18-point lead into the break.
 

Capilano resumed the offensive pressure immediately from the kick off and scored early to reduce the game to 18-5. The Birds responded immediately. Jeffries stole the ball at a Capilano line out in left field, and from the ensuing phase play Harjun Gill broke the line and fed Staller who scored in the right corner. The conversion was missed but UBC had restored its 18 point lead, with the score sitting at 32-5. Sauder and Staller combined again to break on the right as UBC looked to extend its lead before a crossing penalty in midfield gave Capilano the opportunity to reduce the gap. The penalty kick to touch was followed by a line out drive and then a series of punishing short ruck drives. The score finally came and the added conversion made it 23-12 for UBC.
 

The final 10 minutes saw UBC contrive to give its opponents more opportunities to reduce the lead. At least four unforced errors provided Capilano with welcome possession, but the Birds’ resolute defence held strong right through to the final minute when the visitors scored in the corner. The game finished 23-17 in favour of the home team.
 

The Braves Fall 35-36 in the Ceili’s League
The slow start that plagued the Braves against the University of Victoria was in evidence again on the weekend. Down 0-5 after just 4 minutes, the Braves did hit back quickly with a try from Phil Berna and a conversion from Wes Wong. The 7-5 lead evaporated slowly throughout the half as Capilano dominated the contact point and added three more tries and two conversions to take a 24-7 lead into the break.
 

The Braves’ start to the second half was bright. A Karsten Leitner try, converted by Wong, made it 14-24. Caps scored again and their lead remained at 14-29 for another 20 minutes as UBC sought to break their defence. Leitner seemed to have added to his tally when his kick and chase almost brought a deserved try, only for Berna to mishandle with the line at his mercy. The Braves sustained the pressure and from a line out, the backs moved the ball wide for Berna to make amends, scoring his second try of the day. Wong added the convert and the Capilano lead was reduced to 21-29.
 

Then, from a counterattack deep in their own half, the Braves stormed through the visitor’s defence. Alan Hogarth made the telling line break before offloading to Nick Allen who passed to Leitner for the score. Wong converted again and the score was 28-29. With five minutes remaining, the Braves had two bonus points in the bag by scoring four tries and being within seven points of their opponents. As the home team pushed for the outright win, Capilano scored and converted, taking a 36-28 lead. The Braves however, remained determined and launched another series of attacks which saw Wes Lee finally power over the line. Wong added his fifth conversion and the score finished at 35-36 for the visitors and the home team picking up two valuable points in defeat.
 

Totems impress again in loss to Capilano
After a strong showing against Scribes in their last game, the Totems put in another solid display against one of the 3rd Division’s powerhouse teams. The opening twenty minutes saw UBC take a 14-0 lead as an eighty meter Spencer Loughlin try and a kick and chase effort by Hayden Melin were both converted by Chris Rey. Capilano then mounted a comeback, working through its experienced and strong pack of forwards. Tries from a line out drive and from the base of an attacking scrum, and one convert, reduced UBC’s lead at the half to 14-10.
 

For 30 minutes in the second half, the Totems competed ferociously with the visitors and were unlucky to be down 14-22 going into the final 10 minutes of the game. Two late scores took the game out of reach but UBC can take pride in its performance in this 14-34 defeat.
 

Upcoming Games – November 8th
Next weekend sees the Birds and Braves travel to Vancouver Island to take on the current BC Champions, James Bay while the Totems cross the bridge to take on Capilano B in 3rd Division play. Be there for another great day of Thunderbird Rugby.

CDI Premier League: UBC Birds @ JBAA, KO 2.45pm

Ceili’s First Division: UBC Braves @JBAA, KO 1.00pm

3rd Division: UBC Totems @ Capilano RFC, KO 11.30am

 

November 1, 2014

Thunderbirds down Vikes in first leg of 2014-15 Boot series

VANCOUVER, BC – The UBC Thunderbirds moved to 3-0 in the Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League standings on Saturday, defeating rivals UVic Vikes (2-1) by a score of 30-19 in the first leg of the storied Wightman Boot series. The bonus point win also saw the Birds hold down top spot in the Premier table, claiming 15 points from their first three wins since being promoted to the province’s top flight competition.

 

MATCH RESULTS - Sat. October 25, 2014

UVic Vikes 19 – 30 UBC Thunderbirds

UVic Norsement 26 – 13 UBC Braves

UVic Jutes 34 - 14 UBC U20s

Scribes 17 - 6 UBC Totems

 

UBC’s defence was relentless from minutes five to 75 and their efforts were enough to see off a Vikes side who are hungry to make amends after relinquishing the Boot last season for the first time in 17 years.

UVic’s opening try came in the second minute when Doug Fraser ran in almost untouched for the opening score and Giusseppe du Toit added a convert. The Birds would hold out the Vikes until the final five minutes when Casey Cavers would go over in the 75th and Pitblado would dot down in the 79th.

 

“I’m very happy with the win but we still have work to do,” said UBC head coach Rameses Langston. “We know when we see them again that they’re going to be twice as good. It can be tough to hold on to the win in the final 10 minutes and as you saw today, UVic are able to turn around and score in 30 seconds.”

 

After conceding the opening try, UBC found their footing and jumped out to a 20-7 half time lead. Some pivotal tactical kicking would put the Vikes under pressure in the corner and twice the Birds were able to score from driving mauls after winning lineouts. Second row Connor Hamilton was credited with two tries from the mauls and it was winger Brock Staller who provided UBC’s third try. Staller added a convert and a penalty from nearly 50 metres for the lead at the break.

 

The second half saw UBC maintain their momentum and Staller added a penalty in the 47th minute for a 23-7 lead.


The two sides were gridlocked for much of the ensuing 20 minutes as wet weather and knock-ons kept both sides off the board. In the 67th minute, UBC centre James Thompson would be put into space before he ran in from 22 metres for UBC’s fourth try of the match. Staller’s conversion from just inside the touchline made it 30-7.


UVic would not go quietly and in the final five minutes were able to go over for a pair of well-deserved tries. Cavers went over and Pitblado quickly converted. Pitblado would score shortly after but the clock wore out at 30-19.  The two late tries could prove pivotal if the Boot series is to be decided by an accumulative score when the two sides meet again in Victoria on February 7th at Wallace Field.

 

Up next, the Birds will look to keep their early season form going when they host Capilano RFC on Saturday, November 1st at Wolfson Field.

 

About the Wightman Boot

More commonly known as "The Boot", the home-and-home series played between the province's top university rugby programs will be in its 44th edition this year. The annual competition was named after the late Brian Wightman, who was at the helm of the Thunderbirds from 1964-1967. The trophy for the annual competition features Wightman's boot, which was stolen and bronzed by his players. The "Boot Game" has featured the Vikes and Thunderbirds every year since 1970 with the exception of the 1978-79 season when UBC hosted Stanford. The Vikes won 17 straight titles until conceding the Boot to the Birds in 2014.

 

 

Slow Start sees Braves Fall to First Ceili’s League Defeat
As they did in the previous game against Rowers, the Braves once again started slowly against the Norsemen. Down 0-7 in less than two minutes, the score only got worse as the opposition doubled its lead before Wes Wong kicked a penalty to reduce the arrears to 3-14. The Norsemen responded immediately and raced to a 19-3 half time lead with a third try.
 

The Braves fought back in the 2nd half as a Cully Quirke score and a Wes Wong convert closed the gap to 10-19. Wong then reduced the score again with another penalty. At 13-19 the Braves looked likely to complete the comeback but the Norseman defence held firm before they added a further try and conversion to move the score to 13-26. The final 15 minutes saw the Braves push for another score to mount a comeback or at least claim a valuable bonus point by finishing within 7 points of the opposition.  There was no such reward and the Braves slumped to their first league defeat.
 

Totems Fall to Scribes

This was a strong performance against a strong Scribes team.  Although the side lost 6-17, it pushed the opposition all through the game and was unlucky to go into the interval 3-7 down. The Totems continued to press in the 2nd half but could only manage a second Chris Rey penalty as Scribes ran in two more tries and a conversion.
 

U20s collapse against University of Victoria U20s

The U20 Men started well against the Jutes. Two converted tries by Cole Keffer and Nick Wright gave them a 14-0 lead just as half time loomed. An unlucky break saw the lead reduced to 14-5. The home team failed to impress in the second half as the visitors scored 31 unanswered points and complete a 34-14 win.
 

Upcoming Games – November 2nd

Next weekend sees the Capilano RFC come to the Campus with three scheduled games against the Birds, Braves and the Totems. Be there for another great day of Thunderbird Rugby.

CDI Premier League: UBC Birds v Capilano RFC, KO 2.45pm

Ceili’s First Division: UBC Braves v Capilano, KO 1.00pm

3rd Division: UBC v Capilano RFC, KO 11.30am

October 25, 2014

Thunderbirds kick off Wightman Boot defence on Saturday

VANCOUVER, BC - The newly-promoted UBC Thunderbirds (2-0) men’s rugby team will kick off their Wightman Boot title defence this weekend against storied rivals UVic Vikes (2-0) in round three of the Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League. After a 17-year drought, the Birds claimed the coveted inter-university trophy last January, producing an emphatic 22-8 win over the Vikes at Wolfson Field to take the 2013-14 series by a 51-24 accumulated score. 

 

MATCH DETAILS - WIGHTMAN BOOT:
Sat. October 25, 2014 

UVic Vikes at UBC Thunderbirds (UBC Wolfson Fields) 2:45pm

UVic Norsement at UBC Braves (UBC Wolfson Fields) 1:00pm

UVic Jutes at UBC U20s (UBC Wolfson Fields) 11:30am

Event also includes Third Division fixture Scribes at UBC Totems (Wolfson Fields) 11:30am

 

Arguably the top two university rugby programs in the country, the Birds and Vikes have faced off regularly in both 15s and 7s in recent months, clashing in numerous tournament Cup Finals. In 2014, UBC saw off the Vikes in the Cup Final of the Las Vegas Invitational in January before the Vikes returned the favour a few months later in the Cup Final of the National University Sevens in Langford. Competing in the Okanagan Spring Brewery League (15s) last Spring, the Birds went on to lift the Province Cup and earned promotion back to the Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League.

 

Building on their 2014 success, which also included a World Cup series win over American rivals Cal Bears, UBC’s program underwent a heavy recruitment this past summer and has enlisted some of the top players available in the country. 

 

Their 2014-15 season has seen them jump out to 2-0 with a 26-17 win over Castaway Wanderers and a 34-27 over Vancouver Rowing Club. The question they keep getting asked, after being back in the top flight for the first time since 2010, is can they sustain their current form? 

 

“Whether you’re at the top of the division or you’re at the bottom, any time you’re in the Premiership you have to have the attitude that you belong there,” said UBC head coach Rameses Langston. “We can’t get wrapped up in the fact that we’re a young university team and that we might be seen as a one time shot. We definitely feel like we belong here and I know our best rugby is still ahead of us.” 

 

Langston’s roster was reinforced by a bevy of provincial team recruits this summer, some who may feature in this weekend’s matchup. With 44 varsity players and over 100 registered in the program, the squad has the depth to remain competitive through May. 

 

“There has been an important culture change and you can see that through the attitude of the players coming in and everyone involved,” Langston added. “The guys understand the work it takes to play at this level and you can see the level of commitment at training, around the clubhouse and on Saturdays.” 

 

UBC’s veterans include James Thompson, former Canada U20 captain Connor Hamilton, Charlie Thorpe, BC Bears reps Brock Staller and Bryan Tyrer, as well as Canada Maple Leaf Sevens standout Jorden Sandover-Best. Incoming players include BC U18 provincial grads Nakai Penny and Theo Sauder, as well as numerous rookies that have been challenging veterans for roster spots. 

 

The back line will be tested against the Vikes, but with Eric Hunter-James and Liam Murphy-Burke on the wings, and Andrew Coe in the mix, the squad will have  plenty of firepower to draw from. 

 

“We’re in for a tough match,” said UBC forwards coach Curry Hitchborn. “They hung on to the boot for 17 years and I would imagine [Vikes] coach Doug Tate has done a lot of prep to get it back.” 

 

The Vikes have also jumped out to a 2-0 CDI Premier League start handing reigning Rounsefell Cup champions James Bay a 27-19 loss on opening week, before following that up with a 33-19 win over Castaway Wanderers on October 18. 

 

Like UBC, their roster is chock full of provincial and national team players, bolstered by the return of Canada-A rep Pat Kay who has been competing in the Americas Rugby Championship. The Vikes will also have Canada Sevens flyers Justin Douglas and Lucas Hammond in their back line, featuring alongside veterans Fergus Hall, Dustin Dobravsky and Ollie Nott. The Vikes’ pack also features Shea Wakefield, a Victoria native coming off a summer campaign with the BC Bears senior men’s provincial team. 

 

The two sides have seen each other in sevens competition already this Fall, with the Vikes edging the Birds in the Cup Final of the Western Washington Sevens in late September. 

 

Saturday’s schedule will include a full slate of four rugby games with the U20s, Braves and Birds all facing off against UVic, and the Totems taking on the Scribes in Third Division play. 

 

NOTE: Round two of the Wightman Boot series is scheduled for February 7, 2014 at UVic’s Wallace Field. 

 

About the Wightman Boot

More commonly known as "The Boot", the home-and-home series played between the province's top university rugby programs will be in its 44th edition this year. The annual competition was named after the late Brian Wightman, who was at the helm of the Thunderbirds from 1964-1967. The trophy for the annual competition features Wightman's boot, which was stolen and bronzed by his players. The "Boot Game" has featured the Vikes and Thunderbirds every year since 1970 with the exception of the 1978-79 season when UBC hosted Stanford. The Vikes won 17 straight titles until conceding the Boot to the Birds in 2014.

 

-30-

 

October 23, 2014

Birds win CDI Home Opener against Rowers

Birds 34, Rowers 27

The Birds started their Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League home opener against the Vancouver Rowing Club and it was the Rowers who took an early lead with a penalty after just three minutes. The hosts were quick to respond.  A line out deep in the Rowing Club 22 was won and driven over the line for prop Chris Taylor to claim his second try in as many games. Staller converted to give UBC a 7-3 advantage.  The loss of flanker Josh Schreiber did not appear to dent the Birds’ attacking fervor, and following a scrum and midfield break, Jorden Sandover-Best probed the blind side and found Quinton Willms in support. With very little space, Willms broke a tackle and went over in the corner. Staller converted again and the lead was extended to 14-3.
 

From a position of strength, the Birds began to find themselves on the wrong side of a number of Referee calls. Warnings for persistent offside resulted in prop Neil Courtney receiving a yellow card on 30 minutes.  Four minutes later lock Sam Clark followed with a yellow for foul play. Rowers turned up the pressure and pinned the home team in its own 22. The Birds were resilient and from winning a scrum with six players, centre James Thompson made a break that was continued by Nate Rees. His kick and chase ended up with a score by the posts, another Staller conversion and a 21-3 lead.
 

In scoring the try, Rees was injured and would not return. Rowers kicked off, regained the ball and broke through the Birds’ defense at the corner. The convert failed but the gap was cut to 21-8 as the half time whistle went. When the second half resumed with two Birds still in the bin, it was the home team that pressed initially until a poor clearance kick gave Rowers an opportunity to counter and score under the posts. UBC’s lead was now cut to 21-15. Brock Staller added a penalty for UBC to take the score to 24-15 but with the Birds struggling to reassert their own structure on the game, Rowers scored two more tries in quick succession. When the second was converted, Rowers found themselves in front 27-24 with twenty minutes remaining.
 

The final twenty minutes was a torrid affair. Rowers began to control possession and were looking to add another score. With ten minutes to go, a dangerous tackle on Quinton Willms resulted in Rowers taking a yellow card.  The injury to Willms seemed to galvanize the home team. Theo Sauder almost broke the line for a score and then with five minutes remaining Alex Mascott created a turn over at a Rowers line out. The Birds moved the ball to the right and stretched the Rower’s defense before coming back left for James Thompson to penetrate and touch down. Staller continued his impressive kicking and converted. UBC were now up 31-27. Another series of attacks gave the Birds a penalty and Staller’s kick closed out the game, giving UBC the 34-27 bonus point win.

 

Braves storm to their second Ceili’s League Win.
Braves 58, Rowers 21

The Braves started slowly against Rowers, but once they found their rhythm they produced another controlled display. Cam Graham was prominent in the opening attacks and from a penalty Wes Wong gave the home team a 3-0 lead. Rowers replied by scoring from turn over ball (3-7) before Wong added his second penalty (6-7). Spencer Soltan then made a break on the right wing before chipping ahead for Theo Sauder to gather and score (11-7). Rowers responded by breaking some weak tackles to go ahead 14-11 before UBC moved the ball quickly from a penalty for Sauder to break and put Soltan over in the corner (16-14). A UBC counter attack resulted in James Carson scoring in his second successive game (21-14) before Wong’s third penalty put the Braves ahead 24-14 at the half.
 

The Braves put the game out of reach in the opening twenty minutes of the second half. Wong’s fourth penalty was followed by converted tries by Karsten Leitner and Matt Cheong as the Braves stretched out to a 39-14 lead. Rowers responded briefly with a converted try before Cal Passingham, Cole Keffer and Matt Cheong rounded out the Braves’ scoring with Wong and Kannwischer adding conversions. The final score was 58-21.
 

Totems Tie Rowers
Totems 17, Rowers 17

Rowers started strongly against the Totems, going 7-0 up after 10 minutes. The home side hit back almost immediately when Spencer Loughlin broke and fed Jess Grist who went over at the corner. The try went unconverted and Rowers extended their lead to 10-5 with a penalty goal. UBC’s varsity soccer convert then showed what a promising talent he is by breaking sixty meters to score his first try. Collett’s conversion put the Totems up 12-10. The see-saw scoring continued with Rowers taking a 17-12 lead before Loughlin broke the line again and kicked through for Smith to gather and score his second and tie the game at 17-17.
 

The second half remained scoreless despite a period of dominance by UBC. Rupert Peers created a number of chances from scrum half while Noah Spence was prominent at centre. After two defeats at Kats and Kamloops, this was a positive step forward for the Totems.
 

Upcoming Games – October 25th
Next weekend sees the University of Victoria Vikes come to town with three scheduled games against the Birds, Braves and U20s while the Totems take on a strong Scribes team. The Birds’ game will double up as both a CDI and Boot game. We need Alumni, family and friends out in full force to support the program. Be there for a great day of Thunderbird Rugby.

 

 

 

October 18, 2014

UBC share the spoils with Capilano

Braves 102 – 0 Capilano
The full day of home fixtures against Capilano RFC started with the U20 game. The 20s took up where they left off last week at UBCOB Ravens, running in 16 tries to outscore their opponents 102-0.  Tyler Hergott caught the eye again with his straight and powerful running and was rewarded with 5 tries. Nick Allen, Jon Manderson and Andrew Coe each added a brace while Wes Wong and Tom Kanwischer added 6 and 5 conversions respectively.

Totems 42 – 15 Capilano-A
The Totems continued their winning ways with a 42-15 victory over Capilano A in the 3rd Division game. Caps took an early lead and dominated the early phases with some powerful forward surges. The Totems began to spread the ball and move the bigger Caps team around the field and rewarded with four first half tries. Following a strong display last week against Burnaby, the back row was once again in the thick of the scoring with James McKenzie and David Turner each grabbing a brace and Chris Heathcote-Rey adding 6 conversions in the 42-15 victory.


Braves 25 – 18 Capilano
The Braves’ game was the proverbial game of two halves with Caps dominating play in the opening half and going out to a 22-0 lead. The Braves had a difficult time competing against their physical opponent and with the dismissal of Kirk Bonnis mid-way through the period, the home team failed to find any rhythm. With the insertion of some fresh players at the half and with the wind behind them, the Braves began to penetrate the Caps defensive line and to create more pressure.  Mark Cheong led the way with two tries as the Braves clawed their way back to 22-18 before a late penalty for Caps sealed a 25-18 2win for the visitors.

Birds 7 – 24 Capilano
The Birds eventually succumbed to the Caps Premier sides 24 to 7 but not before they had pushed their opponents to within a converted try for almost three quarters of the game. Early pressure by the home team almost resulted in try for Liam Murphy-Burke before Capilano scored in the corner to take a 5-0 lead.  A well-conceived try by the backs, finished by Nate Rees and converted by Murphy-Burke put the home team ahead 7-5 before Caps took the lead for good just before the half. Behind 7-12, the Birds made inroads into the Capilano half but turn-overs and an avalanche of penalties halted any momentum and pressure that they hoped to apply. Two tries in the last quarter put Caps up 24-7 and gave them a place in the Lower Mainland Cup final.
 

Next week is a quiet week for most of the Club. The Totems will play Kats at Balaclava Park while all other teams take a break, except for two sevens squads that travel to the Western Washington University Sevens Event.
 

The Birds and Braves will kick off their CDI Campaign on October 4th with a trip to the Island to play Castaway Wanderers, with the home opener against the Rowing Club scheduled for October 18th. The first Boot Game (also a CDI fixture) against University of Victoria will be on October 25th at UBC. Supporters planning to travel to the game at Berkley in 2015 should make note of the February 7th date in the States. The return game at UBC will be on the March 21/22 weekend.

September 20, 2014

The Season Starts With Three Wins at Burnaby and at Jericho

UBC began the 2014-2015 season with a clean sweep of games. The Totems kicked off early at Burnaby Lake with a 36-17 victory over the home team. The back row of James McKenzie, Connor Bevington and Dax Moir contributed 4 tries and Justin Mount added another 2 to give the team a win in the Province wide 3rd division.

 

Next up was the U20 Team against the Ravens. Always in control, the team ran in 7 tries from all areas of the field.  With the pack providing a steady stream of ball from sets and loose play, the backs contributed 38 points in the 48-13 win with Tom Kannwischer kicking 5 conversions on tries from A.J. Talman, Nakai Penny, Cole Keffer (2), Tyler Hergott, Phil Berna and Andrew Coe.

 

The Birds then defeated the Ravens in Lower Mainland Cup play 34-19. With the coaches giving playing time to a large number of players, UBC was always in control despite conceding a large number of penalties. Tries from Liam Murphy-Burke (2), Harjun Gill, Spencer Miller, Brock Staller and Connor Weyell with conversions by Staller and Murphy-Burke gave the Birds the win and platform from which to move forward for the upcoming game against Capilano.  

 

All games on September 20th will be at home against Caps with the 3rds and U20s starting at 11.30am followed by the Braves at 1.00pm and the Birds at 2.45pm.

Text.

Message from New Manager of Rugby, Dave Brown

Message to UBC Rugby Alumni, players and parents

 

First, let me say how honoured I am to have been chosen to take up the position of Manager of Rugby at UBC. While I was involved with the training camp in late August as well as with meetings with the Department of Athletics and Recreation, the Alumni Group and my predecessor Spence McTavish, my first official day was September 8th.

 

In my role as BC Provincial Coach and Development Manager over the last 9 years, I have been in contact with a large number of players who have progressed to the program at UBC and have also had the pleasure of seeing our Coaches Rameses Langston and Curry Hitchborn work with these players as Provincial Coaches of the Provincial Age Grade Programs. In addition, I have had the opportunity to work with the Academy athletes at UBC, BC Rugby’s High Performance Training Centre, where they could be on campus, and also meet with Spence and look at the prospect of being here full time.

 

I have watched with interest and been enormously impressed with the continued and sustained improvement at UBC over the last 3 years and I am excited to take a leadership role in working to help UBC Rugby reach its goal of being the most outstanding University rugby program in North America.  This is a huge and attainable goal, and with the renewed Alumni and University resources, quality coaching and a growing group of talented individuals and athletes, we are well on our way.

 

My own background in rugby is diverse. Before coming to Canada, I graduated with a B.Ed. from Loughborough and then continued my further education at the University of Alberta and the University of Queensland where I worked alongside a former UBC Coach, Professor Max Howell. I moved to Vancouver in 1988 and along the way have been involved in coaching at the Senior Provincial level in both Alberta and BC as well is with the National level with the NSWT at the first World Cup in 1991. I started work with BC Rugby in 2006 where I worked closely with all Provincial Age Grade Programs, Coach Development and the Academy programs.

 

Moving forward with the Program at UBC, our overall goals are focused on: the continued growth of our players as individuals and scholars as well as performance enhancement as rugby players through improvement of core technical skills, tactical game understanding and individual strength and conditioning; increasing our fan base both at games as well as potentially through the on line streaming of our games; improving both the profile and presence of UBC  and UBC rugby players in the broader UBC and BC rugby community; and building our national and international status.

 

The great success of all aspects of the program in the 2013/2014 season has brought some new developments for the upcoming season:

  • We will be involved in the highest level of domestic competition in North America in the BC Rugby CDI Premier League, which will start on October 4th when we play Castaway Wanderers in Victoria. Our first home game is on October 18th against the Rowing Club.

 

  • Our Sevens program will be at 3 events including the Western Washington University Sevens on September 27th/28th, the Las Vegas Sevens on February 14th/15th  and the CIS Sevens on March 7th and 8th.

 

  • The coaching staff for the coming season for the Men includes our Head Coach Rameses Langston who will be leading the program with assistance from Curry Hitchborn. Other staff include newcomers Luke Gray and Ford Chamberlain as well as returning coaches Rod Holloway and Alasdair Hamilton. Both Pat Fleck and Spence McTavish will be returning to work with the Sevens Teams.  The Women’s Program will be led again by Maria Gallo along with assistance from Dean Murten and Corrine Jacobsen.

 

  • We will be combining our efforts in all performance and organisational areas in both the Men’s and Women’s Programs.

 

  • Our Women’s team will again be involved in CIS competition at both Fifteens and Sevens. The opening game of the CIS West will be against University of Calgary at home on Friday September 19th with a 4.00pm kick off.

 

  • We will be hosting a fundraising dinner to honour Spence McTavish. Keep checking the site for details.

 

  • We will be attending the World University Rugby Tournament at Oxford University in conjunction with the 2015 World Cup, from September 13th to September 23rd.  Initial details are on the site with more news to follow.

 

Our season will really be starting on Saturday when we take the field in the VRU competition against the Ravens at Jericho. Our U20s will also take the field with a host of great recruits from across the country.  Andrew Coe and Tyler Hergott join us from Ontario (with Andrew already having represented the Senior Blues). From BC programs we have a group of great talent: Nick Allen, Phil Berna, Drew Coles. Nick Collett, Nolan Howell, Cole Keffer, Declan Kelly, Jackson Locker, Cali Martinez, Jack McWilliam, Nakai Penny, Theo Sauder, Braydon Williams, Wes Wong and Nick Wright have all progressed through BC and Canada Age Grade Programs and we are delighted to have them at UBC. The future looks bright.

 

Finally, I want to finish up by saying that John Forster and the Thunderbird Rugby Association members will be writing to you shortly to elicit continued financial support to help us the build the quality program that we all want to move us forward.

 

I look forward to both contributing to the growth of UBC Rugby and your continued support in our endeavors.

 

Dave Brown

Manager of Rugby, UBC

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