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Big win for SARFC women

Undefeated rugby team is poised for promotion into the first division ranks after defeating the Druids in the Edmonton Rugby Union's seeding round

By: Jeff Hansen

  |  Posted: Saturday, May 31, 2014 06:00 am

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The women’s team at the St. Albert Rugby Football Club is a step closer to moving up into the Alberta first division ranks after extending its winning streak to four matches to kick off the season.

The top two finishers in the Edmonton Rugby Union’s spring league seeding round will play a home and away series with two Calgary first division teams starting in July.

SARFC joined the Lep/Tigers at the top of the nine-team ERU table at 4-0 after digging deep to beat the Strathcona Druids 12-10 in the rain Wednesday night at Lynn Davies fields in Sherwood Park.

SARFC hung tough in the second half after scoring all their points in the second quarter to lead 12-5 at the break.

“Everyone is working for each other to achieve the same goal, which is to win at the end of the game,” said head coach Byron Elliott. “As we move forward as a group we grow in the confidence of the skill and ability through the squad, but being in the fight allows them to realize that it really is a squad effort.”

At the beginning of the second quarter Helen Jones scored off a scrum and captain Katie Davis converted the try.

Sabrina Kelly ran in the second try.

“The girls opened up the game right from where we left off against Grande Prairie (four tries in the fourth quarter in last Saturday’s 47-22 blowout at Alpine field) by camping down in the opposition third. They played patient rugby and at one count stringing nine phases together, which is huge, “ Elliott said. “The only thing preventing us from racking up a bigger score was the slippery conditions as it made handling the ball difficult.”

SARFC buckled down to hold the Druids (1-2) to only a try in the second half.

“The Druids made some changes to their lineup and began throwing everything and the kitchen sink at us. That being said we showed great character soaking up the pressure and getting turnovers at crucial times in their attacking play, either coming from relentless pressure in our defensive line speed or great work at the breakdown,” Elliott said.

The fourth quarter brought out the very best from a determined SARFC side.

“With so many scrums due to handling errors and soaking up wave after wave of attack the forwards were getting tired, but yet they found extra resolve, even after losing hooker Danica Dreger to a broken fibula,” Elliott said. “This frustrated the Druids as they kept making penalty after penalty and Katie used her experience to kick them back down field and run down the clock holding onto a two-point lead.”

The next SARFC match is Wednesday versus the Pirates (1-2) at 7 p.m. at the Pirates Rugby Club.

Rugby Canada update

Team Canada prop Andy Tiedemann of St. Albert and SARFC premier men Kyle Gilmour and Duncan Maguire are playing in the Canada Selects versus B.C. Invitational match today at Klahanie Park in Vancouver.

Both sides feature star-studded lineups with the return of Canada’s overseas professionals and top domestic-based players.

The first 15 for B.C. Invitational includes Tiedemann and Gilmour at flanker. Gilmour is coming off a monstrous performance for SARFC in last Saturday’s 24-23 thriller against the Calgary Hornets to halt an eight-game losing streak to the defending Labatt’s Cup provincial champions.

Maguire, fresh off his impressive run with the Team Canada sevens in the last leg of the IRB Sevens World Series at Glasgow, Scotland and London, England is listed as a reserve among the backs on the Canada Selects’ 23-man roster.

Tiedemann, Gilmour and Maguire are members of the Calgary-based Prairie Wolfpack in the Canadian Rugby Championship league.

Today’s head-to-head competition of Canada’s best players will serve as the team selection for next Saturday’s international test match against Japan in Burnaby. It’s part of the 2014 Pacific Nations Cup, with Canada also scheduled to scrum down against the U.S.A. Eagles on June 21 in Sacramento, California.

Canada will also line up against Scotland on June 14 in Toronto.

High school rugby

Heavy rain forced the postponement of Thursday’s metro Edmonton high school division two women’s rugby championship between the Paul Kane Blues and Harry Ainlay Titans at Ellerslie Rugby Park.

It’s been rescheduled for Tuesday at 4:45 p.m. at Ellerslie.

The Blues are 4-1 and their only loss was 24-19 against Ainlay (5-0) in pool A action May 5.

The last metro rugby championship for the lady Blues was 2008 in the premier (now division one) conference.


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