Volume 12 Week 5

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Senior Boys Rugby
St. Pete's wins fourth city rugby championship in five years
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Members of the St. Peter Knights pose for a team photo after winning the NCSSAA Tier 1 senior boys rugby championship on Thursday. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The dynasty continues. On Thursday, St. Peter High School won its third city championship in a row and fourth in the last five years, downing the Colonel By Cougars 20-8 thanks to three second half tries.

The tries were scored by Grade 12 seniors Nick Lecour, Billy Shaw and Christian Eanga Selenge, while Nick Wakim booted a pair of penalty kicks and added a convert, All four players were also members of the senior boys football team which won the National Capital Bowl last fall, as was Dan Fair who was named player of the match.

In fact, a number of the players on the team crossed over from the football program. Both Shaw and Fair will be graduating this year having won four city championships, one each in junior and senior football and two in rugby.

"This is awesome. It feels really good," said Shaw who's heading to his second OFSAA rugby championship in the last two years.

Traditionally a second half team, the Knights played true to form, allowing the Cougars to keep the score close through the first 35 minutes. In fact, it was the Cougars who got on the board first thanks to a penalty kick from 15 metres out by Chris Spack.

Wakim then tied the game five minutes later with a penalty kick from 18 metres out. The Knights had the ball inside the three-metre line twice, but couldn't score the try. On both occasions the Cougars were able to prevent the Knights from placing the ball in touch.

The first half was also marked by a seemingly endless array of penalties by both sides, but the balance of play clearly favoured the Knights who kept constant pressure on the Cougars' backline.

After a pep talk from head coach Lee-Ann Napiorkowski, St. Pete's came out flying in the second half and within the opening two minutes they were knocking on the door. A poor decision by Brett Fuster not to kick the ball from his three metre line almost resulted in a try by Shane Dabros, but he was disposed of the ball as he crossed the goal line.

The Knights nearly scored again off the ensuing scrum, but they dropped the ball on the third touch, reverting possession back to the Cougars.

A member of the St. Peter Knights senior boys rugby team finds some open space during the NCSSAA Tier 1 championship on Thursday. Fred Sherwin/Photo

It was only a matter of time, however, before Eanga Soulange scored on a nice run from about 15 metres out. Wakim then added the convert to put the Knights up 10-3.

The Knights would score again less then two minutes later off a scrum that was set up by a long run down the sidelines by Wakim. St. Pete's took the ball off the eight metre scrum and put it in the hands of Nick Lecour who powered his way across the goal line for the try and a 15-3 Knights' lead.

They would go up 20-3 a short while later on a great effort by Shaw who was helped across the goal line by about a half dozen of his teammates.

The Cougars eventually scored a try late in the game to make the score half respectable, but by then the outcome had already been determined.

After the game a jubilant and half-drenched Napiorkowski was already looking ahead to the OFSAA provincial championships which are taking place in Toronto next week.

"No, definitely not," Napiorkowski answered when asked if her team's propensity for slow starts would help them in their quest for an OFSAA medal. "We need to do a little bit more in the first half and they know that. It's just a matter of execution."

Billy Shaw, who's a member of the Bytown Blues Rugby Club and has been identified by the Canadian National Program, also knows his team has to play better in the first half if they are to have any chance of advancing in Toronto.

"We're going to be a lot more focused before the game and start off strong," said Shaw.

The Knights are a good mix of club players like Harrison Lowe, Michael Murray, Nate Cowie and Garrett Moorcroft, and converted football players like Shane Dabros, Chirs Zablocki and Jeff Veinotte who's heading to the University of Buffalo next year on a scholarship.

For first year convert Nick Wakim, having a chance to win a city title in two different sports in his final year at St. Pete's is something he'll never forget

"To go through the spring and really train hard for this and win it all, especially in a sport I don't normally play, it's amazing," said Wakim.

(Posted 7:30 p.m., May 20)

 

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