The Terrace Northmen rugby club played hard at the first official tournament of the season – and it paid off.
The team topped the social side of Edmonton’s Rugbyfest after an “interesting” weekend that saw them face off against more elite teams than usual.
A combining of the two official categories, the elite group and the social group, took place after some elite teams couldn’t attend. That meant the round robin saw some tough competition.
“We always played them really tough,” said Northman Adam Linteris of the initial games. “They definitely had to earn their wins, but a couple of them did get past us unfortunately.”
The team got pushed into the social semi-finals where they saw a couple of aggressive games against the Calgary Saracens – Calgary took the first game by three points, but when the Northmen played them again “we took it to them pretty good,” said Linteris. “We played it tough and we pulled that out.”
The final saw them up against the Clansmen from Edmonton.
“It was a really good game and we ended up edging them out in the end,” he said. “Took a big win.”
Linteris said the team played physical the entire tournament, which may have thrown some teams – and the refs – off.
“A lot of teams try to stay out of the contact and we’re always looking for it I guess,” he said.
The team benefited from a large roster of guys ready to play.
“We were never really losing steam,” he said, noting the team ran hockey subs up until the semi-finals.
“You run a big run, get tired, come off and get a fresh guy in there, so guys didn’t really have to dig down deep because there was always a fresh set of legs to take over,” he said. “But when we got to the semi-finals, we had to cut our roster down to 12 guys and there were some definite all-stars that emerged.”
Linteris points to the starting seven in the semi-finals: Phillip Blundon, Jamie McKinstrie, Jordy DaCosta, Walker Main, Werner Pienaar, James Dorrett and Jordan Schibli, but adds that the entire team came to play.
“Everyone exceeded expectations, I think, of themselves and of the team,” he said. “There was not one weak link on the team.”
“It was nice to see the practising paying off,” he continued.
The team hosts the Williams Lake Rustlers this Saturday, May 31 at the Northwest Community College field.
“It’s going to be an interesting one,” he said. “Last year, they were extremely dominant but travel teams tend to be a little bit weaker than home teams, so it should be a really good game, a really tough game.”