Rugby: St George’s owns B.C. 7s; Magee and Lord Byng seek city title

The Saints defend their B.C. 7s championship with a dominant win over Lord Byng.

The dominant force from St. George’s was tested by a motivated squad from Lord Byng but ultimately few teams could contend with Saints on the sevens rugby pitch. They defended their championship B.C. sevens title with a 38-7 win over the Grey Ghosts April 27 at U.B.C.

Saints opened scoring and were up 12-0 at the half thanks to a try from Theo Sauder, which he converted, and a second try by Phil Berna.  

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Saints head coach Pat Palmer praised the rugby program at Lord Byng and said the Ghosts “fought bravely” to narrow the score to 12-7 at the start of the second half.

St. George’s Sauder answered immediately with his second try, which he again converted. Jaden Bloom, Cathal Long and Sauder with his third try, added to the score for St. George’s.

In an email, Palmer unpacked the reasons for their win: “Ultimately, too much pressure from Saints and too much hard defensive work took its toll on Byng and their structure began to falter in the final minutes, allowing Saints to run in three tries.”

The Saints count seven players who have represented the province or nation in rugby sevens, which Palmer was right to call a “coach’s dream.”

“This is one of the strongest high-school sevens teams that I have coached over the years,” he said. “They have great speed and fitness, but more importantly a lot of experience of seven a side rugby.”

Palmer said both teams played what he described as “good sevens” by “using possession wisely, applying pressure and working hard off the ball. Both were disciplined sides and their understanding of the game and its strategies was strong.”

Halves typically last seven minutes, but because of miscommunication with the referee, each half was 10 minutes long. The six extra minutes — almost equivalent to a typical half — rewarded the players with the most fitness.

The longer halves may not have influenced the outcome, but did affect the final score.
“I believe a 19 or 26 to 7 would have been a more fair representation of the contest,” said Palmer. “Byng was really disadvantaged in the end by the long halves and having to work so hard to contain some of the Saints players — the trio of Theo, Phil and Cathal in particular.”

Lord Byng and Magee contest each other for the senior boys rugby city championship May 1 at Camosun Park.

The Grey Ghosts finished at the top of the table and advanced directly to the championship game. Magee beat Kitsilano 17-15 to reach the final.

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