(WINDSOR, ON) – The students were well prepared to play what was for them, their schools, and their parents a new and unfamiliar sport. The teens had just finished a four week blitz of physical training and learning the basics of tackling, ball handling and the unique rules of the game of rugby.
You could see the rising level of excitement and anticipation as they gained confidence with each practice and the only thing they wanted was for the chance to play a game or two.
Rugby is famous for creating friendship and camaraderie between players and with these boys the principle held true. The play was fast and furious with plenty of quick tackles and good ball handling.
It was apparent that some of the players were football players earlier in the year as they were sometimes reluctant to pass the ball to their mates while running, but this didn’t seem to prevent the teams running and grounding the ball into the end zones, called Try Zones in rugby.
Fast and light on their feet, many of the players had the crowd of over 125 cheering as they broke from the pack, found holes in the opposition’s defences, and ran like lightning down the pitch; some tries being scored after a flat out run of 40 or 50 yards.
Scrums were played when ball possession had to be determined. The boys huddled and locked themselves together, trying to push their opponents back as the hookers sought to ‘hook’ the ball back underneath their own legs to the waiting scrum-half, whose job was to pick up the ball and pass it to a team mate to run it forward.
Now they were really looking like true rugby players or ruggers, as they are called in England.
Everyone knows fast and exciting tackling is a big part of rugby and these boys didn’t disappoint. It is the manner of tackling which separates rugby from football and which allows rugby players to be safe when tackling or being tackled.
The boys learned well from their highly experienced veteran rugby player coaches of the Windsor Rogues Rugby Club. Hitting their opponents low by wrapping the arms around their opponent’s lower torso or legs quickly brought down even the largest of the lads.
The crowd cheered as some of the boys executed clean and well executed tackles, some parents wondering how their son would fare with the tumbles and knocks they received. However, all was well as the boys got back up and brushed off the grass and dirt.
When the dust settled, the event was declared a success.
These were the inaugural exhibition games of high school rugby in Windsor and it truly was a success.
This was rugby.
(Photos by Kathy Guenette and Matt Bourdeau; used with permission)
WECSAA High School Rugby – 7 June 2017 – in association with Windsor Rogues Rugby Club.
Herman High School field
Herman (30 players) supplied two teams and Holy Names one (10 players) participating in rugby 7s.
- Herman 1 56 v. Herman 2 28
- Herman 2 35 v. Holy Names 28
- Herman 1 35 v. Holy Names 0
- Herman 1 15
- Herman 2 9
- Holy Names 4