Nolan Chapman and Aedan Monteith both go for the ball during the Kermodes’ rugby practice April 1 behind the R.E.M. Lee Theatre. The boys took on the Terrace Northmen senior men’s team to get their first scrimmage under their belts.

Nolan Chapman and Aedan Monteith both go for the ball during the Kermodes’ rugby practice April 1 behind the R.E.M. Lee Theatre. The boys took on the Terrace Northmen senior men’s team to get their first scrimmage under their belts.

Kermodes rugby up and punting

Senior rugby has hit the turf for the season, and the new team is off to a strong start, with a full roster and some regional competition to boot.

Senior rugby has hit the turf for the season, and the new team is off to a strong start, with a full roster and some regional competition to boot.

The Kermodes had their first scrimmage April 2 against the Terrace Northmen Rugby Club behind the R.E.M. Lee Theatre.

“The kids are picking up everything pretty quick, it’s a pretty complex sport to teach kids that have never played,” said head coach Sean Hall, adding that some of the students had never even seen a rugby game before.

Keith Axelson, co-director for athletics at Caledonia Senior Secondary, said there has been a strong group of 20-25 core boy players with a small number of girls attending regular practices.

“They are working on understanding and executing the various elements within the game such as scrummages, rucks, mauls and field spacing,” said Axelson, who has been helping out with the new team.

According to Hall, the team has recently learned it will be joined this season by rugby teams from Prince Rupert, Smithers and Houston.

This is big news for high school rugby in Terrace, because it means the northwest now qualifies as a zone and will be sending one of the four teams to provincials.

The team will be mixed with two senior girls, who have decided to join the scrum.

“We’re pretty happy with that,” Hall said.

“Both of them can take a hit, and both of them can give one too, so I’m pretty impressed.”

He said next year there are plans in the works to field a girl’s rugby team, providing enough interest turns up from players.

Mark Shibli is a Grade 12 student, and a player on the newly formed team.

“I’m loving it so far, it’s so different from any other sport I have ever played,” he said, adding it is different from hockey and soccer where the focus is often on superstar players. Rugby he feels is a more co-operative and team oriented sport.

“It’s a really smart game, you gotta think, it’s not just like crash and bang like everyone thinks,” Shibli said.

His teammate Dillon Jenson was equally enthusiastic about the new team.

“It’s aggressive and just awesome, there is a lot of skill  involved,” he said

According to Keith Axelson, co-director for athletics at Caledonia Senior Secondary,  there is a group of 20-25 core boy players with a small number of girls who have been attending regular practices.

“They are working on understanding and executing the various elements within the game such as scrummages, rucks, mauls and field spacing,” said Axelson, who has been helping out with the new team.

The team started up when Hall went into Caledonia and held a rugby clinic to see what kind of interest there would be among the students.

Jenson said before Hall came into Caledonia with the rugby clinic none of the students knew too much about the sport.

“Now over three or four weeks everyone is starting to pick everything up and the team is starting to form,” he said.

The program has been put into action in cooperation with Caledonia, Skeena Junior Secondary and the local RCMP detachment.

The RCMP is sponsoring the team as a part of its youth initiative, helping out with the purchase of balls and jerseys for the team.

The youth initiative is aimed at assisting local youth development as well as encouraging healthy relationships between youth and RCMP.

The Kermodes will be kicking off their season against Houston at 3:30 p.m. April 15 at the Northwest Community College