Werner Pienaar battles through a tackle in a league game last year. Contributed photo

Terrace rugby team growing in confidence

Now 3-0 in their season, the Northmen feel ready to tackle the Williams Lake Stampede

The Terrace Northmen claimed its third season victory here last weekend, beating Prince Rupert 38-29 in a game which gave every player a chance to tackle.

Having dominated the Prince Rupert Seamen 81-5 at Seafest the weekend prior, the Northmen mixed things up on the Terrace field last Saturday, June 17.

“It wasn’t a hard hitting game. It was a lot of ball movement and running,” said player and club vice-president Evan Van Dyk.

The Seamen are new in the league, still building up experience, but Van Dyk it was still quite competitive.

“It was back and forth, and we used it as an opportunity to make sure that everyone got a lot of playing time,” he said.

“It was a very fun, good-natured, sportsmanship-type game,” he added, noting that the Seamen are “a great group of guys.”

Beating the Seamen a second time gives the Northmen a 3-0 record in the league so far, with a 22-20 victory over the Williams Lake Rustlers in their first game of the season.

Three more games to go, the Northmen are tackling the Prince George Gnats in another home game June 24, starting at 3:30 p.m.

Always a hard-hitting opponent, the Gnats are a tough and experienced team that are hard to predict.

“Prince George is typically a much bigger rivalry,” said Van Dyk. “A lot more hard hits and bigger tackles. Much more of a grinding game.”

Two more league games will round out their season, and the Northmen are also hitting up the Williams Lake Stampede Tournament to face some of the top teams in the province.

Drawing some of most competitive rugby teams in the province, the Stampede adorns its victors with a coveted belt buckle which carries a respected weight all across B.C., said Van Dyk.

“It’s big bragging rights in the rugby community,” he said. The winners get these coveted buckles that are known all over the province.”

The Northmen have competed in the Stampede before, but did not do well, but they are tackling the challenge again after the boost of confidence from last year’s incredible undedeated season and provincial victory. (See story of the provincial triumph here.)

“In the last two years, we’ve gotten some great players out, we’ve got some great athletes that have turned into great players, and we have a full-rounded team,” said Van Dyk.

“Last year we showed that we can compete, so now we really want to test ourselves to the next level to see where we fall,” he said.