Ross Royals keep D4/10 boys’ rugby crowns
FERGUS – There was no District 4/10 high school boys’ rugby the previous two school years due to the global pandemic, but now that it’s back it’s status quo as far as the champions go.
The Ross Royals swept both the senior and junior boys’ championship matches at Victoria Park in Fergus to retain the titles they had won in 2019.
Ross claimed top honours with a 34-5 win over the Guelph CVI Green Gaels in a match that was a lot closer than that score indicated. The Royals, who had scored 105 points in their four-game regular season and allowed but seven, were held to three points in the opening half before finding their legs in the second half.
“I knew it was going to be a close one,” Ross coach Jim Granger said. “We got them pretty good in the regular season (42-0 on April 28), but I watched them play at Centennial against Centennial in the semifinal and they were a different team.
“I knew Gary (Robinson, GCVI coach) would have them ready. I told my guys they’d be ready, too, and they were. They kept us to three points in the half and we played catch the last 10 minutes and defence in our own end and we did a really good job of that. I was proud of them that way. We had a bit of a pep talk at the half and things went a bit more the way we wanted them to.”
And was what said in that pep talk?
“I just told them they weren’t getting their feet going,” Granger said. “I thought we were pretty stagnant. I think we have a pretty good back line and that we weren’t attacking as much with their feet as I wanted them to. In their pods and stuff, they just started sort of flat footed. We sped things up and it really showed in the half. They really went through some nice holes and really took it to them with their feet which was what we needed to happen.”
Darren Kusinski led the Royals with 14 points while Luke Van Dam had 10 and Dan Sarabura and Logan Mitchell had five apiece.
Logan Cako had the try for GCVI.
Ross advances to the CWOSSA AAA tournament at Waterloo where they’ll join Brantford CI, Waterloo CI and Kitchener-Waterloo CVS (KCI) in the four-team, two-day event.
First day is Tuesday and Ross is to play WCI in the first round while BCI and KCI are also to tangle. Winners of those games are to play the loser of the other game in the semifinals later in the day. Semifinal victors move on to Thursday’s championship match and also gain berths in the provincial OFSAA AAA tournament.
“I’ve been doing this for 25 years at senior and this is probably the most level playing field at CWOSSA so I’m really excited about that,” Granger said. “If we win that second game, we go to OFSAA because there’s two berths from CWOSSA, so that’s exciting, too. If we play like we did in the second half, I think we’ve got a really good shot at CWOSSA and then see what happens at OFSAA.”
The OFSAA AAA tournament is to be held at Arva, near London, June 2 to 4.
Ross kept its title by blanking to Centre Wellington Falcons 29-0.
“We came out a little shy, but the guys pulled together after the first 10 minutes and they really started taking it to the other team,” Ross coach Ron Docksteader said. “The other team put up a great fight.”
Ross had finished atop the five-team league’s standings at the end of the regular season with a 4-0-0 record and they had outscored their opponents 209-12 including a 50-0 win over Centre Wellington May 9.
However, the Royals weren’t thinking too much about that victory as they prepared for the final.
“You can’t take anybody too lightly because you never know what’s going to happen day to day,” Docksteader said. “Anybody can step up and they’re a great team. We had to keep the hammer going on them.”
Issac Misner led Ross with 12 points in the league final while Troy MacDonald had 10, Drew McQueen five and Brayden Kalverda two.
Ross moves on to the CWOSSA AAA tournament at Waterloo Tuesday and Thursday. The same schools that are represented in the senior tournament are also represented in the junior tournament.
Ross is to play KCI in the opening round and then either BCI or WCI in the semifinals. Championship match is set for Thursday.
“We’ve played BCI and WCI and it’s going to be highly competitive,” Docksteader said. “It’ll be a great match.”
The CWOSSA tournament marks the end of the junior tournament so winning it is the aim for all four qualifiers.
“That’s exactly what we set out at the beginning of the year,” Docksteader said. “We talked about it and everybody has their sights set on that one.”
Centre Dufferin Royals of Shelburne are in both the senior and junior tournaments while the Erin Raiders are also in junior.
The tournament is slated for Wednesday and Thursday at Cambridge.
North Park of Brantford and Holy Trinity of Simcoe are also in the three-team senior tournament while the five-team junior tournament also includes Kincardine, Preston and Holy Trinity.
The OFSAA A/AA tournament is to be played in Cobourg June 2 to 4.
- Guelph Sports Journal