Before last year, the Terrace Northmen rugby club hadn’t won a game outside of northwestern B.C. in over a decade – but now it appears it is on a roll, taking second at Edmonton’s Rugbyfest over the May long weekend, besting last year’s fourth place finish.
Twenty-six teams came out for the 7’s tournament May 17-19, and with a Terrace team about 30 players deep, the Northmen had enough to enter two teams – a balance of rookies and seniors on each.
Northmen went 5-1 in the round robin, good enough to land both of the teams in the quarter finals.
And then, both teams won in the quarter finals – including a victory over the top-seeded Edmonton Druids.
“The way the bracket was set up, both of Terrace’s teams were set up against each other in the semi-finals, guaranteeing us a spot in the finals,” said Northman Evan van Dyk.
Instead of facing off against each other, the teams rested up and put up one team for the finals.
But even an all-star Northmen team was no match for the mixed Saskatchewan team, who won the final 35-17, knocking the Northmen to a respectable second place finish overall.
Ben Soucie, Jamie Mckinstrie, van Dyk, Don Hill, Cameron Fagan, Jordy DaCosta, and Adam Linteris were among the Northmen players who recieved man of matches throughout the games.
And thanks to some creative costuming and gregarious attitudes – the Northmen donned tour kits fashioned after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, different from their normal black and red jerseys – the team won one of their “most coveted prizes”, the Edmonton Rugbyfest Social Team of the Year.
The season is just getting started, so there is plenty of time to catch the Northmen in action – in Terrace and around the Northwest as part of the Northern Rugby League along with the Prince George Gnats, the Williams Lake Rustlers, and a mixed Prince Rupert/Smithers team.
All of the teams will play one home and one away game against each other and the best record will represent the North at the Saratoga Cup, Division 3 Provincials, in Penticton in September.
The first league game of the season is June 7 at 7 p.m. at the Northwest Community College field against the Williams Lake Rustlers.