Rugby players open season with history in their cleats
MRU men’s rugby team play first game at CRU pitch
Mount Royal University’s men’s rugby team put up a good fight at their season opener on Saturday, Sept. 13 at the Calgary Rugby Union. But in the end, stamina seemed to get the best of them and their University of Alberta opponents won the game 39 – 24. MRU succeeded in scoring three game tries. Cam Burnat scored one and Robyn Cabunoc-Boettcher touched down another two.
Despite the loss, the team’s spirit remained high.
Although rugby doesn’t have official university league status and the players are not called “Cougars”, the sport is gaining momentum. Student club president, Corey Jakobsze, sees it becoming official one day. “I would say there is a very good shot of rugby gaining varsity status in the future. Especially with rugby coming back to the Olympics in Rio,” he says.
“It’s not a full 15 player rugby like we play, but even with seven’s tournaments being more active, the sport seems to be picking up speed.” The sport is CanWest University League affiliated which offers competitive in and out of province match ups. The team will face-off against the University of Lethbridge and the University of Calgary this fall. In winter, MRU will tour playing exhibition games and potentially compete in the National Seven’s Championship.
Rugby is deep-rooted into MRU’s history. “Rugby has always been a part of MRU. Even back to the days of when the school was first started as a college. We actually are looking into some information that we just received on a championship medal from Mount Royal College leading back to 1912. We could very well be the first actual championship team that this school had,” says Jakobsze.
This year, MRU is hosting the CanWest provincial tournament on Oct. 18 to 20. Qualifying teams get to play in the Hindson Cup in Kelowna, B.C. on Oct. 25 to 27. The Hindson cup brings together teams from all over Alberta, British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Games are fast approaching, and practices usually run for an hour and a half three nights a week. It’s $100 to play plus travel costs. Coaching staff Rob Dorran and Alby Iamartino both have over 10 years rugby experience in Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia.
To learn more about the club, its schedule and how to play, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Women’s leagues are also available. Players compete against other clubs and university level teams. For more information on the women’s rugby league email email@example.com.