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Collingwood senior boys claim provincial AA rugby title

Coach David Speirs called it the best year for rugby the school has ever had, with regional wins for both of the younger teams as well

It was a dominant end to a dominant season.

On Saturday at Abbotsford Exhibition Park, Collingwood School’s senior team won the BC AA Boys Rugby championship after a 43-5 victory over Earl Marriot.

After finishing the regular season as the No. 1 seed, the West Vancouver team brought home the championship plaque for the tenth time.

A big part of the team’s performance was a defence that shut down other teams, says long-time rugby coach and Collingwood athletic director David Speirs. Particularly in the tournament, the team faced large opponents on some of the teams from the Fraser Valley, he said.

“But our defence was just very, very strong,” Speirs said. “And that basically set the platform for turning the ball over and then attacking on offence.”

Depth on the bench also gave the squad a leg up.

“It really was a full 15-man effort,” he said. “We managed to get a lot of subs into the game. And those guys played really well too, which meant that we could get rest for our starting players.”

Having options like that is key when you have to play back-to-back games, the coach explained.

“Basically, you only play one game a week. And then suddenly, you have to play three games in four days, so having a really strong bench is really important in a tournament,” Speirs said, while noting standout performances from co-captain Noah George, and James Holm, who scored seven tries over the three-game tourney.

Speirs also credited fellow coaches Aaron Takel and Tom Larisch, both whom he said could head rugby programs at any high school.

The school’s success in the sport extends far beyond just the senior team.

The Grade 8 team won the North Shore Championship, while the junior Grade 9/10 team won its North Shore Championship for the first time ever because Ecole Carson Graham Secondary generally dominates as a AAA school. The junior team also won the Vancouver Sea-To-Sky Championship and finished second in both the B.C. 7s and 15s Championships.

The senior team accomplished the triple-crown by winning the Hatch Shield, Vancouver Sea-To-Sky AA Championship and the BC AA Championship.

“It’s the best year of rugby that Collingwood has ever had,” Speirs said.