Four champions were crowned at an action-packed 2023 BC Rugby Age-Grade Club Finals event at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium on Sunday.
Taking place on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) First Nation, the Age-Grade Crossover tournament made its return to the BC Rugby calendar for the first time since the global pandemic as Provincial Champions were declared across BC Rugby’s U16 and U18 Girls and Boys Divisions.
The atmosphere was electric at Vancouver’s Thunderbird Stadium as teams and Coaches braved the elements, battling it out in front of a loud and proud crowd.
Bayside RFC and Langley Rugby Club stole the show in the U16 Boys and U16 Girls Leagues respectively, while Castaway Wanderers RFC scooped up the U18 Girls gold medals and UBCOB Ravens were declared U18 Boys Champions. Teams received medals, Champions t-shirts, and lifted the new Age-Grade Crossover Club Finals trophies!
BC Rugby streamed all four Finals from the day’s event and will upload them to YouTube this coming week, along with a full 2023 Age-Grade Finals photo gallery – keep your eyes peeled on our social media channels. Below is a recap of each U16 and U18 Final.
Meanwhile, the remaining U14 Regional Champions were decided as Capilano RFC won the U14 Boys Final with a 57-31 triumph over Abbotsford RFC, while the Abbotsford RFC U14 Girls won their Regional Final 38-33 in a close game against United RFC.
All photos courtesy of BOLD Photos by Shelly
U16 BOYS: BAYSIDE SHARKS RFC 26-5 CASTAWAY WANDERERS RFC
Bayside Sharks RFC was crowned 2023 BC Rugby Age-Grade Club U16 Boys Champions following a strong win over Castaway Wanderers RFC.
Bayside blasted out of the blocks with a try inside the first minute following a quick break on the right side, which was expertly converted by the kicker for the extras. Castaway hit back with a try of their own, but it was the South Surrey side that ended the first half strongly with two well-taken tries and another classy conversion to move into a 19-5 lead at the break.
Despite some strong Castaway defence in the second half, the Sharks again took advantage of a quickly taken penalty to further extend their lead to 26-5 and see out the game for an impressive victory.
U16 GIRLS: LANGLEY RUGBY CLUB 26-12 JAMES BAY AA
Langley Rugby Club and James Bay AA played out a classic as Langley lifted the U16 Girls Championship with a 26-12 triumph.
Following a disallowed try in the first few minutes, Langley opened the scoring and added the extras before facing a long period of James Bay pressure. The constant attacks paid off for the Bays, who hit back with a try before half-time to reduce the deficit to 7-5 in Langley’s favor.
Langley raced clear early in the second half with two swift tries, including one under the posts, to extend the lead to 19-5 before the Island side hit back with a spirited try and conversion to bring the game within one score.
Both sides exchanged blows towards the end of the topsy-turvy second half, but Langley crossed over in the final stages to seal the Championship in style.
U18 GIRLS: CASTAWAY WANDERERS RFC 34-5 ABBOTSFORD RFC
Castaway Wanderers RFC raced to an emphatic 2023 BC Rugby Age-Grade U18 Girls Championship win with a 34-5 win over Abbotsford RFC.
The Oak Bay side was incredibly well-drilled throughout and put their opponents to the sword in the opening stages with three excellent tries inside the first 20 minutes, leading 17-0 at the interval.
A fourth try followed after the restart after some smart play from the Castaway lineout forced an Abbotsford error and, with the extras added, the Island side moved 24-0 clear, before adding a fifth and sixth try shortly after.
Abbotsford hit back with a well-worked try off the back of some exceptional running Rugby, but Castaway saw out the rest of the game to claim a famous victory.
U18 BOYS: UBCOB RAVENS 19-14 CASTAWAY WANDERERS RFC
UBCOB Ravens battled to a 2023 BC Rugby Age-Grade Finals U18 Boys Championship following an intense 19-14 win against Castaway Wanderers RFC.
The Ravens drew first blood with a quick try from a scrum in the opening minutes of the game, scoring under the posts before the extras were added.
After successfully fielding some Castaway pressure, the Ravens doubled their lead with another neatly taken try with some sweeping build-up play across the pitch. However, Castaway hit back to reduce the deficit shortly before the break, with Ravens taking a 14-7 lead into halftime.
The Mainland team extended its lead to 19-7 immediately after the restart with smart play on the far side of the field, but Castaway clawed a try back – and converted – to make it a five-point game with just 15 minutes remaining.
With the crowd getting increasingly louder, both teams battled hard into the final stages as Castaway pushed for a try to take it into overtime. However, the Ravens’ defence were defiant as they clinched the Championship thanks to a vital turnover in the dying seconds.
BC Rugby would like to thank all groups and individuals who made the 2023 Age-Grade Club Finals possible: to our Match Officials, Coaching Staff, Therapists and Medics, Players, parents, volunteers and vendors – thank you for your hard work and commitment in helping grow the game throughout the province.
To Rugby Canada Senior National Team Player Sara Kalijuvee, Rugby Canada National U20 Coach Maria Gallo, BC Rugby Director of the Board Theresa Weeks and BC Rugby CEO David Newson for presenting medals to all finalists.
To official event photographer Shelly Fey and PA announcer Ryan Chilton for their contributions during the day.
To our Official Merchandise Partners, The Rugby Shop, and our official sports nutrition partners, Blonyx, for providing their services throughout the day.
To our sponsors and partners for their commitment in helping grow our sport: Onni Group, The Rugby Shop, X-Treme Rugby Wear, Langara Fishing Adventures, belairdirect home Insurance, Gilbert Rugby Canada, and Blonyx.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the Province of British Columbia.