VANCOUVER — They’re entirely different games, yet St. George’s head rugby coach Mike Stiles can clearly see the common threads which run through both his Quad A No. 2-ranked 15-man squad and his more streamlined squad which on Sunday finished a two-day run by capturing the BCSSRU’s provincial sevens title on their home field.
“They are very resilient, very determined and they are not intimidated by anyone,” Stiles said Monday in reflection after his program very quickly put a tremor-filled 22-19 loss in the 15-man game to Carson Graham earlier in the week behind them, topping its arch rivals, Vancouver Island’s Shawnigan Lake Stags 32-24 in the B.C. sevens final.
“They are for the most part, all starters on our first XV, and it’s a mixture of players with a real good skill set of run, pass and catch, with obviously a lot of speed and fitness,” the coach added.
Stiles admitted that the title match was a reflection of the skill and athleticism of both teams.
“Really, whichever team that had the ball seemed to be able to score,” began Stiles. “Not right away but through recycling. I thought we did a good job going sideline to sideline, then waited to hit a gap.
“And I thought that in the final, Connor Palmer was phenomenal, stepping past the bigger Shawnigan guys and scoring a couple of tries for us.”
Stiles also applauded the play of physical Patrick Feng, the No. 8 for the XVs, Jacob Bourne, Andrew Munford and Thomas Kirkwood, the latter scoring the first try of the final and setting the tone for the day.
BCSSRU brass were encouraged by the fact that at 32 teams, the invitational event was its largest edition ever.
In the Tier 2 B.C. final, the Esquimalt Dockers prevailed 19-7 over Kelowna’s Aberdeen Hall Gryphons.
Saints made it a double-gold weekend by winning the B.C. junior sevens title on Friday.
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