Green Gaels back on D4/10 senior rugby throne

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

GUELPH – The Guelph CVI Green Gaels claimed their first District 4/10 senior boys’ rugby title in 10 years Monday when they edged the Ross Royals 17-12 in the final game of the championship tripleheader at Exhibition Park.

“Every time you play Ross, you know it’s going to be a battle,” GCVI coach Gary Robinson said. “You know they’re never going to give up and that was evident right down to the last minute.”

The championship win was the second since 2000 for GCVI, a school that had won five district championships in the 1990s.

The Gaels shot ahead by two tries when Sam Steinhauser read a Ross play and stepped in to halt an attack as the Royals tried to get the ball to the outside.

“I saw the ball going there before he passed it so I ran up and I spiked it ahead before me and I ran after it,” he said. “At first I didn’t think I was going to make it, but I caught it and I just ran.”

“Sam, he had a big game,” Robinson said. “He’s got wheels. It’s his first year playing the game and he’s got a lot to offer. He sealed the deal for us for sure.”

Other scorers in the game were not available.

While the Gaels shot ahead with that try, the Royals didn’t give up. They narrowed the gap to a single try and had the ball down to about the one-yard line in the dying seconds of the match, but couldn’t get it onto the ground in the GCVI end zone.

The title win finished a worst to first journey for the Gaels who had lost all six league games they played last year.

The previous league championship win for the Gaels was also a close one with Ross that saw GCVI prevail 5-0. Following that win, the Gaels had gone 11-24-1 in regular-season games and didn’t field a team in two of the years – 2012 and 2013.

“It feels great,” Steinhauser said of the title win. “This is my first year playing rugby and it just feels amazing.”

Steinhauser is a Grade 12 student at GCVI.

“I went to Lourdes before and they didn’t have a rugby team so I transferred this year and I started on the rugby team,” Steinhauser said, adding that the fact GCVI had senior rugby was part of his reasoning for transferring there.

With the D4/10 title, GCVI moves on to next week’s CWOSSA AAA championship tournament at Brantford.

“We’ve got a week so we’ll take some time to rest,” Robinson said. “We’ve got three of our starters injured. They didn’t play tonight so it would be nice to get them back for CWOSSA. We’ll just keep doing what we do. We don’t need to do anything, we don’t need to add anything fancy, just play good Gaels rugby.”

“We’ve just got to keep on doing what we’ve been doing,” Steinhauser said. “We’ve been successful all season and we’ve just got to keep it up.”

Ross has another shot to gain a berth in the CWOSSA AAA tournament as they’re to host a qualifying game Thursday.

Erin will be D4/10’s representative in next week’s CWOSSA A/AA tournament at Delhi.