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Collingwood claims 2nd straight AA senior boys rugby title

Meanwhile, West Vancouver Secondary won the rugby sevens provincial championship

While Collingwood may have looked like an unstoppable force at this year’s rugby finals, the school's coaching staff insist the win was hard fought.

On Saturday, June 1, the senior boys took the AA provincial title for the second-straight year, after rucking over Abbotsford's Robert Bateman Secondary for a 24-5 win in the final match.

Over the course of the gruelling four-day tournament, Collingwood proved time and time again why they are the top team in B.C.

In the quarter final, first-seed Collingwood claimed a commanding 98-0 victory over eighth-seed Charles Tupper. In that opening game, Collingwood got an early lead and was able to play a lot of their subs, which allowed the top lines to rest, said coach David Speirs.

In the semi-final, Collingwood blanked Brentwood College 55-0. Despite the score sheet, the first half was highly contested. Collingwood blew it open with two tries at the end of the first half, followed by another two tries to open the second half. Again, Collingwood was able to put its reserve players on the field.

“Getting kids into games was absolutely crucial,” Speirs said.

The final game against Robert Bateman was Collingwood’s biggest challenge by far. With just 10 minutes to go, Collingwood was leading by only five points, up 10-5.

“They’re a really big, tough team to play against defensively,” Speirs said. “But because we spend so much time working on fitness, we thought that in the end we would be the dominant team.”

Collingwood was right. They had Robert Bateman hemmed in for most of the second half. Bateman would manage to get it out of their end a few times, but Collingwood would counter back.

James Holm – who had already scored the first try in the match – dug deep, scoring twice more to seal the 24-5 win.

For his efforts, Holm was named tournament MVP, an incredible feat for the young athlete, who was also the MVP when Collingwood took home the provincial AA title for basketball in March.

Holm will continue his rugby career into university next year, as he’s been recruited by the UVic Vikes, one of Canada’s best rugby schools.

“He’s such a great kid to coach,” Speirs said. “He’s a massive offensive threat, but equally good defensively.”

While Holm was the backbone of the backline, Inno De Cotiis lead the forward pack, Speirs said.

“He’s always up front making tackles,” the coach said.

In what was another great season for Collingwood’s rugby program, Speirs credited his co-coaches Tom Larisch and Aaron Takel for leading the senior boys to a repeat victory.

Meanwhile, West Vancouver Secondary won the Rugby 7s provincial tournament in excellent form, blanking the opposition three times in a row – including a 38-0 win in the final match against Stelly’s Secondary. West Van's Manuel Villagra was named to the tournament's Commissioners 15 all-star team.