Grade 12 student Luke Rainier-Pope (Kyle Slavin/St. Michaels University School)

Grade 12 student Luke Rainier-Pope (Kyle Slavin/St. Michaels University School)

Oak Bay Barbs win battle for the boot in ‘good evening for local rugby’

Teams look now to provincial championships May 30 to June 2

Oak Bay dominated play in the second half to draw ahead of St. Michael’s University School in the 24th Rees Boot Game at the University of Victoria.

“The final score 46-7 for Oak Bay did not reflect how close the first half of the game was,” says Peter Atkinson, a coach for Oak Bay. “Oak Bay Barbs were the larger and more aggressive team but SMUS tackled gamely and made it difficult to move the ball. SMUS used the strategy of little kicks through the defensive line that paid dividends with a nicely taken try off an awkward bouncing kick to tie the game at 7 midway through the half.”

At half time the score was 17-7 Oak Bay.

“Last night Oak Bay were dominant, played very impressively, nothing but praise for their performance,” said SMUS coach Ian Hyde-Lay. “Our guys I thought were every gutsy, a rear guard action from start to finish.”

In the second half the physicality of the Barbs wore the Blue Jags down, Atkinson says.

“More space was available for the hard running Oak Bay players who started to move the ball around and find the try line with more regularity,” he says. “Many players could be singled out for great performances but really all the players on the field for both teams should be recognized for a great display of high school rugby.

“A large crowd from both schools, good officiating, a great venue, it was a good evening for local rugby.”

The win puts Oak Bay ahead in the yearly boot tally with 12 wins to SMUS 11 (one year they tied).

Both teams continue on their seasons with high aspirations. SMUS is the top ranked AA team in the province and Oak Bay is currently the number 2 ranked AAAA team in the province. Provincial championships are May 30 to June 2.

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