ABBOTSFORD — Plucky St. Michaels University School scored three tries, each of which lifted Victoria’s Blue Jags into the lead over their Vancouver arch-rivals, the St. George’s Saints.
Yet when the B.C. junior varsity rugby championship game hit its inevitable stretch drive under sweltering conditions Friday afternoon at Rotary Stadium, it was a deep Saints bench which wound up delivering both a 24-15 victory and a provincial title to the all-boys Vancouver private school.
“I thought SMUS played more organized and disciplined in the line-outs, and they put us under some tremendous pressure,” began St. George’s coach Jonathan Mergui. “We even lost some guys to injury, but our bench came in late and stepped up big.”
First, with his team trailing 15-14 and 13 minutes remaining, big Austin Fraser crossed the line to restore the Saints lead at 19-15.
Then, with just under eight minutes left, Steel Bey broke four tackles and raced down the sidelines, touching down to round out the scoring.
SMUS, in keeping with JV tradition, put no numbers on their rugby jersies.
Jacob Murkur and captain Anvith Mulpuri each scored first half tries for Saints, both converted by Murkur.
“I think today shows that hard work pays off,” Mergui added. “I can remember this season, we were off in the deep end in Wales, losing by 60 points on tour and getting absolutely battered. That match gave us a perspective and from there, we never looked back.”
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