St. George’s 1st XV Makes History


Rick MacDonald

St. George’s winger Cathal Long looks to shake off Shawnigan Lake tackler Callahan McMaster.

Rugby at St. George’s has been part of the school’s tradition for 81 years now. Each year, the team has one main goal in mind: winning the Provincial Title. On Saturday, May 31st, the St. George’s 1st XV had the opportunity to do so; facing long time rivals Shawnigan Lake School for the second year in a row now at Rotary Stadium in Abbotsford. Even though last years final saw Shawnigan Lake taking the AAA Provincial Title for their 5th consecutive year, the Saints knew that they had the opportunity to go down in history and it wouldn’t come easily.

Saturday was almost impeccable, with 20+-degree weather as well as an enthusiastic crowd, cheering on both St. George’s as well as Shawnigan Lake. Right from the kickoff, it was evident that nerves were running high through both the Saints as well as the Shawnigan Lake Stags. The opening score saw Shawnigan go over the try line first, making the score 5-0. However, there was plenty of time for a St. George’s comeback. Ben Scher opened the scoring for the Saints, with a drop goal right at the buzzer to make the score 5-3 going into halftime.

The second half looked to be crucial for the Saints, as they would need to leave everything on the field for the last 30 minutes. However, it was Shawnigan who ran over the try line first, making the score 12-3. The Saints did not give up, with Phil Berna scoring two crucial tries in the dying minutes of the game and Theo Sauder adding the conversion. The final score ended 15-12 to St. George’s, ending Shawnigan’s 5-year winning streak and making St. George’s Provincial Champions once again. The last time St. George’s were Provincial Champions was in 2004.

“With about eight minutes left, it seemed like the game might be over,” admitted Mike Stiles, head coach of the Saints. “But our forwards never gave up and that is what has characterized this entire team this season.”

After the game, captain John Hosking had a few words to say to not only the team, but everyone who came out to support the Saints as well. “Saturday was something I’ve never experienced before. It was the culmination of 5 years of passion and hard work from a group of 60 guys. Throughout the entire season, throughout that entire game, I realized that in 20 years I won’t remember the tries we scored or the tackles we made, but the brothers we became. I’m so proud of all the boys and this year is something I’ll never forget.”

This year is truly a year that will never be forgotten at St. Georges. Rugby at St. George’s is much more than just a sport, it’s a tradition, and the boys that play rugby are much more than just teammates, but brothers.