Ross rugby girls gain D4/10 and Royals bragging rights

Ross rugby girls gain D4/10 and Royals bragging rights

There was little on the line but bragging rights, a couple of bragging rights, really.

The Ross Royals scored two tries in the second half to defeat the defending champion Centre Dufferin Royals of Shelburne 17-5 in Thursday’s District 4/10 high school girls’ rugby final at Victoria Park in Fergus.

With the win Ross gained the bragging rights of being the D4/10 champs as well as being the best Royals in the nine-team league.

“This is huge for a lot of reasons,” Ross coach Mark Yanchus said of the win in his final D4/10 match as he’s stepping aside after 23 years in control of the squad. “We were undefeated, but we played a few gnarly games with a few injuries and I was just nervous that we weren’t coming together. We still have a few, but our key positions came back from injury.”

The teams completed the first half tied 5-5, mainly due to a couple of goal-line stands by Ross.

“We were relentless in defense,” Yanchus said. “They came at us and we defended it, we defended it, we defended it. We let one in, but I at halftime was happy. I said, ‘Even if they’d made their convert, I really felt like, hey guys, 25 minutes to go and we’re playing a near-perfect game. Just keep being yourselves. I like everything I see.’ So in that regard, I really feel like everything came to fruition. I’d be telling a fib if I didn’t think in my last year of coaching, of head coach here, that District 10 champs and on the way to CWOSSA as the first seed didn’t make me feel a little bit good.”

While both teams were already assured of advancing to CWOSSA tournaments – Ross in AAA at Jacob Hespeler Secondary School May 22 and 24 and Centre Dufferin in A/AA that they’re to host the same two days – neither team had much trouble getting up for the game.

“In a way it meant more,” Yanchus said of the final. “We already knew we were the No. 1 seed as a AAA (school) and there was a little part of me — a fellow coach said a couple weeks ago that it’s not the same when we go to CWOSSA without winning D10 and I turned and I said, ‘You’re right.’”

M. Hagarty, K. Van Lankveld and K. Bruce each scored a try for Ross while Hagarty also kicked a convert.

Centre Dufferin’s scorer wasn’t reported.

“Every coach might be thinking about that perfect game, not necessarily in score, but in solid defense, a comprehensive attack, and control of the ball, winning our line outs, winning our set-piece, winning our scrums, fewer penalties,” Yanchus said. “Today I said to them in the circle, ‘I really think it wasn’t a perfect game, but we rose up and put together the best package so far and we did it at the right time against a phenomenal team, defending champs.’ So for me, I look and say they couldn’t have played better to win this game on this day.”

The win by Ross means a team with the Royals moniker has won eight consecutive league finals as Ross won 2015 to 2019 inclusive and Centre Dufferin won in 2022 and 2023. The title fell to COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021.

Centre Wellington Falcons claimed the B final with a 27-7 victory over the Orangeville Bears.

The league operated with two pools with Ross, Orangeville, Centennial Spartans, Centre Wellington and Guelph CVI – all AAA squads – in Pool B and Centre Dufferin, St. James Lions, Bishop Macdonell Celtics and Erin Raiders – all AA teams – in Pool A.

Pool A had quarter-final games with the two winners advancing to the semifinals along with the top two in Pool B. The teams that lost in the quarter-finals fell into the B round where they were joined by the third- and fourth-placed teams in Pool B.


  • Guelph Sports Journal