Langley Rugby Club division 2 men are B.C. champions, following their weekend victory over Kamloops at the 2019 BC Rugby Club finals in Burnaby.
It was a hard-hitting match, with Langley falling behind at first, then wearing Kamloops down to take the win.
Langley was unfazed after their rivals scored two tries, Langley team captain Rob Hayes said.
“We started a little low, but we just kept chipping away,” Hayes said.
Langley fought back from a 14-0 deficit, making tactical substitutions to bring fresh players into the game when they were most needed.
Coach Taylor Crowley said the rival team were tough opponents.
“Their team was well-drilled, well-coached and they took it to us,” he said.
But the Langley players knew victory was possible against Kamloops, the 2017/18 divisional champions, having defeated the very same team to get into the provincial finals a few weeks earlier.
It was on Alumni Day in April, held to celebrate the anniversary of the club by honouring past players, that the Division 2 team clinched a spot in the provincial championships by beating Kamloops.
Club member Craig Angeltvedt, who is on the anniversary committee, was among the supporters cheering the team on in Burnaby on Saturday, May 4.
“The fan support was incredible,” Angeltvedt said.
“Kudos to the team for not giving up.”
One Langley score was on a rugby “maul,” considered a unique test of physical power in the game that takes place when three players from either side are pushing against the other, the ball is kept off the ground and players try to stay on their feet and move forward.
Langley player Stu Morrison said the team never let the early lead by Kamloops get to them.
We just kept grinding,” Morrison said.
“We were able to wear them down physically.”
Morrison rated the championship contest as the most intense of the year.
“It was a very physical game,” Morrison said.
“Both teams have big bodies and they aren’t afraid to use them.”
Final score: Langley 24, Kamloops 19.
It has been more than a decade since the Langley Rugby Club claimed a provincial championship, going back to the 2006 win by the Division 1 team.
That, and the fact it was in time for the 50th anniversary of the club, made the win especially satisfying, Hayes said.
Since the Langley Rugby Club was founded in 1969, it has grown to have its own playing field and operate multiple teams including minis (5 years and up), junior boys and girls, women, and two squads of senior men.
Langley Rugby Club has won several league and provincial championships and many Langley Rugby players have gone on to play for regional, provincial and national teams.
The club motto is “Respect All, Fear None, Expect Victory.”
There are plans for a June 1 anniversary gala that is expected to draw former players from overseas.
In other action at the BC Rugby Club finals, UBCOB Ravens RFC dominated the men’s competition by winning both the Premier League and Premier Reserve, while Capilano RFC edged defending champions Westshore RFC to claim the Women’s Premier League title.
Bayside Sharks RFC secured the men’s division 1 title. Women’s division 1 was taken by Abbotsford RFC, Scribes RFC kept their Women’s division 2 title, and Axemen Rugby Club were the winners of the men’s division 3.
Conditions were near-perfect, with the fields at Burnaby Lake bathed in sunshine and crowds of supporters packing the touchlines.
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